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Protest calls for affordable housing to be included in Buffalo's Green Code

More than 70 people showed up at Buffalo City Hall Monday evening to press the Common Council to include affordable housing for low-income families in the city's upcoming development code.

Among those assembling on the front steps of  City Hall before Common Council's scheduled 6 p.m. meeting on the proposed Green Code for development were Annette Lott, chairperson of Fruit Belt United, and Christian Parra, a community activist with PUSH Buffalo.

Parra, who grew up in the South Bronx in New York City, told the crowd that "organized direct action" is needed to ensure that rentals in many parts of the city, including the Fruit Belt, do not all become too pricey for low- and moderate-income families.

Lott, who owns Fruit Belt property that her parents purchased more than 60 years ago, complained about workers from the expanding Medical Campus parking in Fruit Belt streets now and forcing residents to obtain city parking permits to park in front of their own homes or apartments.

Stressing that residents should not have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, Lott said the rents at some Fruit Belt homes, even with a City Hall-imposed price freeze soon to end, are being raised to over $1,500 a month. She said the Fruit Belt is becoming unaffordable for increasing numbers of low-income families.

Lott and other speakers said they are trying to get the Common Council to legislate "inclusionary zones" linked to community-owned land trusts to allow low-income families to continue to live in that neighborhood.

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