Gentrification hurts the Buffalo community

Olivia Smith, Staff Writer

Gentrification has become an increasing problem in the City of Buffalo, specifically on the West Side.

Gentrification can be defined as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer people.”

The West Side is known for its diverse environment, including immigrants and refugees from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Puerto Rico, Central America, and many other areas.

The area attracts so many immigrants because of its low cost of living. Apartments start at just $400 per month.

However, the problem with that is that the wealthy are looking to move in and purchase the property, resulting in improvements and increased real estate.

This pushes the poor out of the area because they become out priced. With this push, the immigrants are displaced from the West Side and pushed to the nearest area in the similar price range, that being the City of Niagara Falls.

The cost of living in the City of Niagara Falls is roughly the same, but crime rates are higher, unemployment is high, and it’s notorious for the high pollution rates.

Members of the West Side community are working together to stop gentrification, through the proposal of revamping Buffalo Public School 77 on Normal Ave. for community purposes. The school closed ten years ago because of tank related leaks and spills caused by poorly designed underground and aboveground storage tanks.

People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo has been planning to save School 77, but needs the help of the rest of the community. For people to live sustainably, all those in the community need to get involved.

PUSH believes in the “community control of resources,” which means that people need to be aware of the area they live in and their surroundings.

As students of SUNY Buffalo State, our campus is located directly between the Elmwood Village and the West Side. Though we are not all from the Buffalo area, we need to be aware of those that need help in our community. To be invested in the place that we reside means to help all in the area.

Helping those in the community directly affects us. For example, education majors may someday be able to get a job at a school on the West Side of Buffalo. Business majors may someday want to start a company in the changing area. Communication majors need to be aware of the news there because they have a job to report the story. All students can be affected, and without the help now, we may be at a loss for that option.

PUSH wants their project to stay in the hands of the Buffalo community and as students, we too can help.

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