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Back to basics for BMHA, now that full board and Exec Dir in place

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority now has a full board and a permanent executive director. Now Common Council members want to see evidence of a turnaround.

The Common Council Tuesday approved another five-year term for BMHA  Board Member Alan Core and approved the nomination for a five-year term on the board for City Housing Director Yvonne McCray. Mayor Byron Brown picks five of the seven board members, with tenants electing the other two members.

BMHA Executive Director Gillian Brown has been reorganizing his staff, since his promotion from general counsel. Brown said the goal is to make lines of responsibility very clear.

Common Council President Darius Pridgen said that is important, as is doing the basics like maintaining the lawns, shoveling the sidewalks and repairing vacant apartments, while looking for perhaps $1 billion for complete renovations. He said the BMHA has bad facilities and weak daily management.

"The day-to-day contact and correction. But at the end of the day, you can only put band-aids on so many times," Pridgen said. "It is going to take a huge amount of money to redo the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority's properties. But in the mean time, what people are asking for is the minimum."

Pridgen said the city is looking to Washington, D.C. for financial help for the BMHA.

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt represents the giant Kenfield and Langfield projects. Wyatt said nothing seems to change.

Credit City of Buffalo

"I'm not certain that progress is being made," Wyatt said. I think that when I met with Mr. Brown the first time, I hoped that he would get out into the community and really see what's going on and not depend on his folks in the community to give him information. I'm still hopeful that he will do that. I think that he needs to hear from people, hear their hearts and minds, because a lot of people are very frustrated and very angry."

Council Majority Leader David Rivera said it is time to deal with basic operating problems that don't seem to get resolved.

"We've had people come to the Common Council to complain about one thing or another," Rivera said. "We want to make sure that those problems are addressed and so we're going to certainly work with them. If we can provide resources, we will. But we want to make sure that the complaints and many of the legitimate concerns that have been brougnt before us are dealt with."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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