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Letter: Single-family homes can help stabilize city

Single-family homes can help stabilize city

The Common Council of the City of Buffalo should consider legislation to encourage the reduction of two-family dwellings to single-family homes. This may help stabilize neighborhoods by promoting home ownership for single families, and discouraging the rampant flipping by unscrupulous absentee landlords.

The housing stock in the city was built for a time when the city’s population was more than double today’s numbers. There are plenty of multiple-unit houses in the neighborhoods that would qualify and benefit from being changed to single-family homes. By allowing tax breaks or incentives to motivate people to purchase and convert doubles for their primary occupancy, owners may garner a sense of pride and better care for the places they reside.

Many government programs that exist to help defray costs in rehabilitating homes are available only to owner occupants. These programs have strict guidelines to avoid repayment default and ensure proper reconstruction of dwellings, which is contrary to some of the investors in Buffalo today. Some out-of-town absentee landlords are interested only in minimal repairs to quickly get renters’ subsidized rent payments and not interested in the long-term viability of their property and the surrounding community.

With Buffalo now moving forward, hopefully the economy and such legislation will cause the reinvestment into many areas of the city that are crying out for rejuvenation and stabilization.

Brian J. Higgins