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Residents cry foul over neglect of apartment complex

Thomas O'Neil-White

Tenants of the Pine Harbor apartment complex voiced their displeasure Thursday over what they say is years of neglect by management, ownership, and the City of Buffalo.

Billionaire developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ company Related Companies owns the complex in Buffalo's Lower West Side. In 2009, Ross received $6 million in subsidies to fix the structural damages to Pine Harbor.

Tenants said there are a multitude of problems.

“I have this mouse and rat problem,” said tenant Charlene Bridges. “The mice are inside my bed.”

Bridges, as well as other tenants, said their complaints to the management office were ignored. In addition to the rodent problem, tenants also complained of roach and bed bug infestations and structural damage causing a leaky roof.

PUSH Buffalo Organizing Director John Washington has been working with Pine Harbor residents to try to get these issues fixed. Many of the residents receive Section 8 rent assistance. Washington said the neglect is no accident.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White
Pine Harbor resident Ana Diaz

“Over the past ten years he (Ross) has done nothing to address these issues,” he said. “At this point there are many people who are in danger of losing their Section 8 because of this neglect.”

Washington said the continued neglect of Pine Harbor is a ploy to antagonize tenants to the point where they move out. Once everyone has moved out, more expensive housing can go up in the place of Pine Harbor.

City leaders, Washington said, have made it clear the vision for a new downtown Buffalo does not include poor people.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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