Rep. Brian Higgins is calling for a federal investigation into the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. The Buffalo congressman described the conditions at some of the city’s public housing complexes as “disgusting” and unsafe.
Earlier this year, BMHA officials faced the Common Council after complaints from tenants about poor living conditions started piling up.
Now Higgins has written a letter to Helen Albert, the Acting Inspector General for the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct an investigation of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority–especially the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the Admiral Perry Homes.
Higgins said there is a dozen vacant apartment buildings at the Perry housing development, which tenants say have led to rats, feral cats, and wild animals running rampant through the complex.
“When you have an abandoned site like that people just start dumping household junk there, and that is what is occurring now.”
The Washington lawmaker said he has been urging the BMHA board, Mayor Byron Brown, and HUD to clean up Perry for nearly a year .
“These buildings can be rehabbed. The buildings are all brick, they are solid buildings, there is a demand for housing in downtown Buffalo This site is 7 tenths of a mile from Canalside downtown, and the Metro Rail system.”
Higgins also called on the Inspector General to investigate the living conditions at Langfield Homes, which have been reported to be among the worst maintained public housing developments in the country.
Langfield residents were reluctant to talk about what is happening at the East Side apartment complex, so Rev. Phillip Butler whose mother lives at the BMHA development shared some of her concerns.
“That these are still people who are paying their rent, they should have the same type of treatment, just as everywhere else. I think it is unfair to the people who live in this area, and there needs to be something done about it.”
Rep. Higgins said figures show the BMHA is spending about $1,062 per unit per month on its housing properties, which could get their tenants, he believes, into luxury apartments.