•on September 29th, 2011
Each year the City of Buffalo auctions off thousands of properties for unpaid property taxes or fees for sewer, water, or garbage. A new report from the Partnership for the Public Good says that the City is casting too wide a net, with 928 properties that owed only garbage fees of $300 or less and 41 properties that owed only sewer liens less than $50. To avoid foreclosure, each owner must pay not only late fees and interest but also a $445 foreclosure fee.
Read the report Reforming Buffalo’s Tax Foreclosure Process which includes six suggestions for improvements:
- Limit foreclosure to bills over $500;
- Do not foreclose where only fees, and no property taxes, are owed;
- Reduce the foreclosure fee (currently $445) for lower amounts of debt;
- Accept partial payments;
- Offer hardship assistance for people suffering a temporary loss of income due to no fault of their own; and
- Improve or eliminate user fee billing.
To find out more, tune into The Public Good on WUFO AM 1080, this Tuesday, October 11 at 1pm.
Lauren Breen of the WNY Law Center and Paul Curtin of the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo will join host Sam Magavern to discuss the City of Buffalo’s foreclosure procedures and the recent lawsuit filed to prevent to City from foreclosing on properties that are delinquent only on garbage user fees.
Check out local press coverage as well:
City halted from selling some foreclosed properties, 10/3/2011, Buffalo News
•on September 23rd, 2011
PPG’s September forum focused on language access rights for immigrants and refugees. Hosted by the Bell Center, the forum featured leaders and residents from immigrant and refugee communities sharing their experiences in navigating local government services, as well as an explanation of the law.
Check out our latest Buffalo Brief on Refugees, Immigrants, and Languages Spoken.
You can also find more resources and information here.
•on September 14th, 2011
The Partnership for the Public Good has prepared a voter guide in collaboration with the Coalition for Economic Justice, Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition, Prisoners are People Too!, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Buffalo First!, Clean Air Coalition of WNY, and Citizen Action.
Questionnaires were mailed out to candidates for city and county positions. You can access the submitted responses and hear interviews with candidates here.
•on September 13th, 2011
The week of September 12 through 16, the Innovation Trail on WNED focused on the governor’s regional councils.
Listen here to PPG co-director Sam Magavern with host Daniel Robison on Innovation Conversation: Your Community, Your Call.
•on September 13th, 2011
This fall, a green initiative driven by the Western New York Apollo Alliance is bringing together union members, clean energy activists, higher education institutions and volunteers in an effort to weatherize the homes of low-income residents in Buffalo. On October 1, 50 low-income homeowners in the City of Buffalo’s 14215 zip code will be the recipients of a major weatherizing effort, the Home Energy Conservation Kit (HECK) Project.
The volunteer program accomplishes a lot with extremely limited resources—teams will inspect the house for major problems, check the furnace filters and the thermostat on hot water tanks to make sure the temperature is neither too high nor too low. They also educate the homeowner on how to be energy efficient and save money through state programs. And, of course, they caulk, seal, and weather strip. Read the tips here on how to make your home more energy efficient.
Want to learn more?
On September 20, Roseann Scibilia of the University District Community Development Association and Omar Torres of West Side Neighborhood Housing Services discuss the HECK Project at 1pm on the Public Good WUFO AM 1080. Learn how you can reduce your utility bills by being more energy efficient and also about assistance programs you may be eligible for. Tune in or log on to www.wufoam.com.
If you are a homeowner residing in the 14215 zip code interested in the program, please contact Gloria of the University District Community Development Association at staff at 832.1010 extension 1. Eligibility is based on the income requirements for the HEAP program. Check out the homeowner application for further information.
Volunteers are also needed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.