West siders’ share stories about their fight for new renters policy

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Community activists are heading to city hall right Tuesday, fighting for the inclusionary zoning policy.

They’ll face the common council to speak on a proposal requiring developers to set aside a certain percentage of units as “affordable.”

Brenda-Miller Herndon lives on the west side of Buffalo. She recently moved out of affordable housing. It’s been a struggle finding an apartment for her family of 5.

Miller- Herndon said, “Before you know it you’re not going to be able to afford to live in Buffalo.”

She’s just one of the activists fighting for inclusionary zoning. The policy that would require any new development with say 10 units or more to set aside a portion of housing for what’s called “affordable housing.”

That means rents below market rate. That means if an apartment building had 10 units, 3 of them would be for low-income families.

Shes said, “I call it a big gentrification monster just running through the streets of Buffalo and it’s eating up all the low-income areas and the gentrification monster is the developers.”

She says as Buffalo’s economy grows, rents go up and soon those who’ve lived here for decades will have to go. “If you’re going to build here at least make it affordable so we can still be here,” she said. And Buffalo isn’t alone.

Maxine Murphy with PUSH Buffalo says this is happening across the country. Murphy says, “They are pushing main stream people out of their homes out of their communities for rich developers.”

Those against the policy say inclusionary zoning would just bring a halt to residential development in the city.  But Murphy, who plans to share her story to Common Council says she doesn’t want to be left behind.

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