Affordable Housing is Green Housing
Throughout the Green Development Zone, older houses and apartments are getting a green makeover designed to keep them permanently affordable for West Side residents. Thanks to the activities of the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Corporation (BNSC), PUSH’s housing development organization, new housing is going up on the West Side as well – for the first time in a long time.
In addition to its rehabilitation and building projects, BNSC also acts as a land bank to stabilize the neighborhood by acquiring vacant buildings and lots and prepare them for development under community supervision. in this way, BNSC aims to prevent rapid gentrification that would displace low-income residents from the area and diminish their housing options. BNSC also works to educate landlords and tenants about strategies to preserve and expand high-quality housing opportunities in the GDZ.
In all of its development work, BNSC strives to incorporate as many energy efficiency and innovative green building techniques as possible, including super efficient heating systems and insulation technologies, on-demand water systems, and radiant-floor heating systems. Each of these innovative techniques enables PUSH to implement the standards of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative pioneered in Baltimore.
BNSC’s green and affordable housing projects include:
The Massachusetts Avenue Community Homes (MACH) Project:
In 2013, PUSH got great news. BSNC, working with Housing Vision Consultants, won a New York State grant to renovate and build 46 new units of affordable housing in the GDZ. Keep your eyes out as construction begins on the Massachusetts Avenue Community Homes (MACH) project in the upcoming months. This development will be funded by a combination of Low income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), New York State HOME Funds from the NYS Homes and Community Renewal office (HCR). It represents a major step up in the scale of PUSH’s housing efforts.
The Massachusetts Avenue Development (MAD) Project: Eleven-units of housing in three historic structures at 460 Massachusetts Avenue. Funded by New York State’s Small Projects Initiatives program, the State of New York Housing Trust Fund, and HOME Buffalo funds.
456 Massachusetts Avenue: Complete exterior renovation of three-units at 456 Massachusetts Avenue. Renovation includes metal roof and super-insulation of shell, new clapboard exterior, and the landscaping and restoration of the storefront as offices for PUSH Green. The project is funded by the New York State’s Urban Initiatives program.
Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative: Five-units in three buildings, which will break ground in Fall 2012. Gut-rehabilitation of two buildings at 99 Chenango Street and 562 W. Utica Street; and newly built structure at 335 and 339 Massachusetts Avenue.
The units on Massachusetts Avenue represent the first significant new building activity in the area in decades. These projects arose thanks to PUSH’s efforts in drafting New York State’s Sustainable Neighborhood Program.
The NetZero-Energy House: Located at 10 Winter Street, PUSH’s NetZero house, is a model demonstration project. The house is designed to produce all of the energy it consumes.
BSNC Land Bank Projects:
Since 2009, BSNC has acquired approximately 50 properties in the GDZ with help from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. This has guaranteed that future development will be decided in the community’s interest as voiced through PUSH’s Community Planning Congresses. Some lots with structures have been redeveloped in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Vacant lots have been given a variety of new creative uses from clean and greens to community gardens. these expand the neighborhood’s recreational space and its local supply of healthy food, and they alleviate pressure on the city’s over-burdened antiquated storm-water infrastructure.
One vacant lot serves as a source of geothermal energy for the NetZero Energy House.
So, what’s next?
- 1) developing approximately 70 units of low-income housing at sites throughout the GDZ using Low-income Housing Tax Credits and other funding;
- 2) building new single-structure demonstration projects;
- 3) building more commercial space, including executing plans for retail space and business offices at 527 Utica Avenue in the long-closed “Club Utica” building (see left);
- 4) continuing to acquire vacant properties in the neighborhood by maintaining a pipeline of properties for future development under community control; and
- 5) continuing to promote urban agriculture and small-scale energy and storm-water infrastructure projects.
All of this work will expand PUSH’s green jobs pipelines and give work to increasing numbers of West Side residents.
Read a more detailed report on BNSC’s activities.