Higgins calling for review of BMHA decision to block some residents from access to outdoor water


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Congressman Brian Higgins says he’s calling for immediate review and reconsideration of a decision to block residents of Frederick Douglass homes in Buffalo from access to outdoor water.

Higgins says he’s heard from multiple residents about this issue and reached out to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, which owns the property, to try and resolve the urgent matter.

According to the Congressman, management at the Frederick Douglass homes has locked residents’ outdoor spigots and ordered no access to water for plants or pools for the kids.

Higgins shared this from a letter residents of the homes were sent on May 26 from the management team: 

“As a reminder, there is no access to the water spigots outside your homes. If we have not locked/removed your spigot – please refrain from using it. Please be advised that Cornerstone does not allow the use of pools on the property. Please use a canister to water your outside plants.”

“Access to water is always essential for health and safety but especially critical during a pandemic and heatwave. Refusing water connections is unjustifiable and cruel. Bottom line – there is absolutely no good reason to cut off water to residents. This has to be resolved,” Higgins said. 

In a letter to the BMHA, Higgins writes, “The concern continues as residents of the Frederick Douglass Townhouses report their outdoor water spigots have been capped as well. And, it has been conveyed to me that water is included in the townhouse leases.”

He also questions the logic of limiting access to water. Higgins says the BMHA recently received more than $2.847 million in additional emergency funding to support management, maintenance, and resident services during the COVID crisis.

To read Congressman Higgins’s full letter to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, click here.

In a statement released just a short time ago, the BMHA Executive Director Gillian Brown said the spigots were turned off because of the developments’ limited financial resources, but access should be restored sometime next week.

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