Expanding Opportunity in Buffalo Niagara


Yesterday’s post asked what the present holds for the residents who can’t wait for tomorrow.

The question looms large in Buffalo.

For all the promise in Buffalo’s revitalization, it is clear that we have much work to do to overcome the deep divisions within our region.

Make Communities recently partnered with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute to produce a comprehensive study on equity and opportunity in the region: the Fair Housing Equity Assessment.

We identified tremendous gaps in opportunity, and found that these gaps are too often defined by race, ethnicity and geography.

FHEA Opportunity AreasThese discrepancies in opportunity are not random, or even unintentional.

A host of systemic factors led to extreme geographic segregation and racial and ethnic disparities throughout the Buffalo Niagara Region in educational attainment, wealth and quality-of-life that we see today. These factors have included local, state and federal policy and investment decisions, discriminatory practices within the private sector and individual actions and biases.

But in identifying these factors, we begin to understand how these practices and policies can be undone. In fact, some of these policies and practices have been discontinued, outlawed or overturned. However, there has not been a systemic response of the scale and scope necessary to overcome generations of ingrained inequality.

To reverse these trends, the decision-making framework within the region needs to be more intentionally inclusive and reflective of the pervasive challenges of geographic, racial and ethnic disparities.

That will only happen as the chorus of advocates, activists and everyday citizens grows larger and louder – a movement that is already underway, with new groups and initiatives like Open Buffalo, the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable and the Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition emerging to help support, unite and supplement the organizations and individuals who have been steeped in this work for years and decades.

The analysis and insight in this report benefited immensely from the direct involvement of many of these champions for equity and opportunity that made up a stakeholder group helping to guide this analysis.

This blog will continue to highlight portions of the Fair Housing Equity Assessment, including barriers to opportunity and recommendations for charting a new path – a path that includes all of Buffalo’s residents in the promise of prosperity that, until now, too small a segment of the population has felt first hand.







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