Common Council Affordable Housing Task Force

The Buffalo Common Council  Affordable Housing Task Force

On January 10, 2023, the Buffalo Common Council adopted a resolution, titled “Pridgen - Creation of the City of Buffalo Affordable Housing Task Force,” calling on Council Staff to publicize a call to residents and community organizations to apply for membership on the Task Force.  

On February 7, 2023, the Buffalo Common Council announced the appointments to the City of Buffalo Affordable Housing Task Force.

This page is a central resource for the creation of the task force, the application process for members, and updates and reports from the task force once it has been established. 

Why Create An Affordable Housing Task Force?

The Buffalo Common Council is dedicated to addressing problems and finding legislative solutions to the current affordable housing problems that residents face in the City of Buffalo.  

The Council recognizes that these issues have a significant impact on the overall well-being and quality of life of Buffalo residents. Tenant rights, including the right to a safe and habitable dwelling, can affect the physical and mental health of residents. Affordable housing, or the lack thereof, can also have a major impact on residents' ability to afford necessities and participate fully in the community.

Additionally, the Council recognizes that addressing tenant rights and affordable housing issues can have broader benefits for the city as a whole. For example, addressing these issues may help to reduce poverty and improve social and economic mobility, which can lead to a more stable and prosperous community. It may also help to attract and retain a diverse and skilled workforce, which can have positive economic impacts for the city.

It is equally important that the rights and interests of landlords and businesses be considered as well.  Any legislative solutions should consider the impact to landlords and address the issues and concerns of business owners.  

The main objective of the Affordable Housing Task Force will be to conduct a thorough analysis of the issues of affordable housing and tenants rights in the City of Buffalo and to produce a written report with recommendations on how the Buffalo Common Council can effectively address this issue through legislation and other policy measures.   It will also establish a clear understanding of what policies and legislation is determinate by the City of Buffalo, versus what must be passed by the State and Federal Government.

About the Task Force

The Buffalo Common Council’s Affordable Housing Task Force is now seeking applications from committed and passionate Buffalo residents with relevant experience with tenant, landlord and business advocacy.

As a member of the Affordable Housing Task Force, you will have the opportunity to help shape the housing policies and initiatives in our city and work to address the housing needs and challenges faced by our community.

Makeup of the Task Force

The City of Buffalo Affordable Housing Task Force will be composed of 9 voting members who fall under the following minimum criteria:

  1. Members must be residents of the City of Buffalo for a minimum of one (1) year

  2. Members must be at least 18 years of age

  3. Three members from organizations that focus on tenants rights

  4. Three members from organizations that focus on landlord and business rights

  5. One member from the City’s Fair Housing Office

  6. One member from the City’s Law Department

  7. One Community Member who has been personally affected by the lack of affordable housing option within the city and who is not affiliated with a particular organization

The makeup of the Task Force shall reflect the City’s diversity, including, but not limited to: age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation disability, marital status and socioeconomic standing.

Goals and Responsibilities

The Task Force is expected to meet monthly at minimum, and will be responsible to provide opportunities for residents to participate and provide input on how the above goals can be achieved;

The Task Force shall be a temporary body with the following goals:

  1. Clearly outline what issues are State level policy and what issues are municipal level policy

  1. Provide recommendations to the Council on all municipal level policy, supported by data-driven research

Once the Task Force has filed their report and presented their findings to the Buffalo Common Council, the Council will make a determination based on the findings and dissolve the Task Force.

Members of the Task Force

The City of Buffalo Affordable Housing Task Force was originally to be composed of 9 voting members, however, after receiving many well qualified and interested applicants, the makeup of the task force will increase to 11 voting members and will be dedicated to working towards a goal of finding and proposing solutions that can be considered by the Common Council regarding establishing affordable housing options within the City of Buffalo.

The following members have been appointed as part of the City of Buffalo Affordable Housing Task Force:

  • Athenia Cyrus, Individual capacity (elected co-chair)
  • Christopher Scinta, Individual capacity (elected co-chair)
  • Divya Tandon, WNY Property Owners
  • Edwin Jackson Jr., Buffalo Urban League
  • Harold Cardwell, City of Buffalo Fair Housing Officer
  • Heather Abraham, Individual capacity
  • Matt Connors, Sinatra & Co.
  • Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo
  • Sarah Wooton, Partnership for the Public Good
  • Steven Haagsma, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)