Unless you've been living under a rock, you know for a fact how difficult it is to find safe and affordable housing in Western New York. That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that Buffalo continues to have the hottest housing market in the nation.

With that in mind, Buffalonians all over the region must ensure we take every opportunity to build and develop more housing in Western New York, both at a market rate and at an affordable price. However, the housing shortages in the 716 aren't something we're going to be able to build our way out of. It will take a combination of new development and reusing/reallocating current units to make them available.

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With that exact thing in mind, State Senator Sean Ryan, who represents NY's 61 State Senate District, which includes about 1/3 of Buffalo along with the northern suburbs, has introduced a series of bills in the New York State Legislature that should do quite a bit to people looking to buy and rent houses in Buffalo. Those bills, which are in committee right now, would need to be passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor to become law, but since New York State is currently reviewing and debating the 2024-25 state budget, it's the perfect time to make these changes.

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The four bills that would help Buffalo, New York State Senate Bills S8622, S8591, S8585A, and S8575, would make funds available to help tenants catch up on rent with a one-time assistance payment, create a grant fund to help small landlords make repairs to their houses in exchange for renting to low-income rents, provide capital to build new houses in Buffalo, and require the gas and electric company to fund a program to help Buffalonians make weatherization improvements to their homes.

All of these sound like they would do wonders for a city like Buffalo, which routinely ranks as one of the poorest in the nation and has suffered from years of redlining and segregation. Given those facts, a recent move by the Buffalo Common Council has many Buffalo residents scratching their heads.

At the Tuesday, March 12, 2024, meeting of the Buffalo Common Council's Committee on Legislation, the council was asked to provide a resolution of support for these bills. However, the council refused to support the bills and marked the request for a resolution as Received and Filed, which stopped debate and effectively disposed of the request.

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Why would the Council refuse to support something that could only help Buffalo's residents? You can watch the entire debate on the Common Council's Facebook page.

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