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"PUSH" FOR GREEN AFFORDABLE HOUSING

by Tracy Will
Wed, Feb 24th 2010 08:30 am
Photo Credit: Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News www.buffalonews.com
Photo Credit: Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News www.buffalonews.com
 

PUSH Buffalo has been all over the news lately.  When board member Delores Powell's home was rebuilt as part of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the WNY community not only watched with excited anticipation, they broke the record for the number of volunteers for the show, now in its seventh season.  In addition to the Powell Family's home, repairs and improvements were made to 70 neighborhood properties that week, along with the creation of community gardens on vacant lots.  On January 24th, the world watched as the greater Buffalo community showed them just why the Queen City is known as "The City of Good Neighbors" when the special, two-hour episode aired.

This is just the kind of publicity, and action, that PUSH - People United for Sustainable Housing - wants; and it couldn't have come at a better time.  It could give them the extra edge they need to be awarded funding from Governor Paterson for the 25-block West Side redevelopment plan PUSH designed with partner organizations Homefront and the Massachusetts Avenue Project.  The plan calls for 200 homes, three-quarters of which are vacant, to be rehabilitated with all green features.

At his ‘State of the State' address, Governor Paterson outlined his strategy to make Buffalo a demonstration project for rehabilitating abandoned structures, which included a proposal for a green development zone.  Michael Weber, Paterson's top housing adviser, and Michael A. Skrebutenas, deputy commissioner of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, have visited three prospective sites in Buffalo for the pilot project.  Although no decisions have been made, the West Side redevelopment plan has received the most praise from officials thus far.

As part of their neighborhood tour, state officials visited 10 Winter Street, a vacant property that PUSH is rehabilitating as a demonstration project to showcase the potential vacant housing stock has to take advantage of cutting edge green building technologies.  When it's complete, the property will feature advanced insulation technologies, rooftop photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water systems, gray water management and a geothermal heating system installed in the adjacent vacant lot.  CIR is excited to be working with PUSH on the installation of the rooftop PV system and new electric service for the house.

The energy-saving benefits associated with green building technologies have become a large focus area for PUSH because they can improve housing conditions for low-income residents and reduce their heating and utility bills at the same time.  In addition, with the green economy growing and residents in need of employment and job skills, PUSH works with AmeriCorps and local contractors to have local youth working alongside tradesmen gaining valuable skills and job experience.

As a part of the overall redevelopment plan and a model for future housing rehabilitation, the Winter Street project is very important for the community and the goals that PUSH and their partner organizations are working so hard to realize.  This project will certainly have a positive impact on the community, and CIR is proud to be a part of it.  Be sure to look for progress updates in future newsletters.

 

For more information visit http://www.pushbuffalo.org/.

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