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City Hallways (Oct. 20) Concern that all can't afford a $2,000-a-month apartment

Nice if you can afford it

I'm reading a recent report put out by several Buffalo organizations worried that many low-income residents are being left behind as Buffalo's housing market heats up.

Here's how they describe the situation: New apartment complexes built in Buffalo recently include, for example, Hydraulics Lofts on Seneca Street with rents for two-bedroom apartments ranging from $1,075 to $2,000 per month; and the 301 Ohio Street apartments, where rent for a two-bedroom unit runs from $2,195 to $2,495.

Meanwhile, with 33 percent of Buffalo residents living in poverty, the median household income in Buffalo is $21,815.

Assuming 30 percent of income should go toward rent, Buffalo's median renters can afford $545 in rent monthly.
"Unfortunately, less than 35 percent of Buffalo's rental housing is priced at $600 or below," the report states, then continues: "Put another way, in Buffalo, 61 percent of renters earn less than $35,000 and 78 percent of these renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent."

The authors of this report, including PUSH Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, and Housing Opportunities Made Equal, are pushing for something called "inclusionary zoning," which basically requires a percentage of units in any market-rate developments approved by the city  - particularly those receiving public subsidies -  be designated for low and moderate-income residents.

I know City Hall is considering the concept. But at the same time, the Brown Administration also talks about large investments its been making recently to increase the availability of low-income housing in Buffalo. Just this past week, for example, the city announced two low-income housing projects it has invested in.

The topic's bound to get a lot more discussion in coming months.

Another Buffalo connection

For those watching Fox News after  the presidential debate last night, that was  Bill Burton,  1995 graduate of City Honors School, being interviewed by Fox, giving his spin on Hillary Clinton's performance.

Burton is a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant who previously worked as President Obama'a deputy press secretary.

"We want to celebrate recovery."

Avi and Julie Israel, whose son Michael took his own life while addicted to prescription drugs, joined a cadre of elected officials in Mayor Brown's office yesterday to encourage drug awareness as part of what's known as "Red Ribbon Week" in the fight against drug abuse and addiction. "We want families to start talking to loved ones," Avi Israel said. "You cannot brush this problem (under the rug.) We need to treat people with addiction with respect. There is no shame in addiction. "

"We want to celebrate recovery," he added.

Brown said numerous public buildings and facilities will be lit up in red during Red Ribbon Week  - Oct. 23  to Oct. 31 - to draw attention to drug addiction issues. They include City Hall and the Ken-Ton municipal building as well as the Peace Bridge and the downtown Electric building.

Today's calendar items

Mayor Brown, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster,   Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey and Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis joining among those scheduled to attend press conference this morning that will include update  from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness on local efforts to end homelessness among veterans

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