Housing Authority drawing heat over conditions at Frederick Douglass

Feb 14, 2018

Common Council members were provided a disturbing story Tuesday of why so many people in the BMHA's Frederick Douglass town houses have been losing heat and hot water this freezing winter.

Some residents have spent part of the winter without heat and hot water at Frederick Douglass towers. Though a solution is in the works, Council members aren't satisfied with the speed of the response.
Credit BMHA

The aging heating systems in some of the housing units were failing. While the problem was simple, the solution is muddled.

"Our hands were tied," explained Lisa Walker, Executive Vice President for Shinda Property Management. Though Shinda operates the complex, it remains the property of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

The authority rejected a request to replace the heaters since they were already planning replacements later this year, according to the BMHA's Assistant Executive Director Modesto Candelario.

That didn't sit well with some Council members.

"Modesto, I have much respect for you, a nice guy. But some of your comments to me incensed me," said Council member Rasheed Wyatt.

"I think that you don't understand because understanding would have been that woman having a heating problem and whatever it costs to fix it, to fix it."

Members also demanded authority Executive Director Dawn Sanders-Garrett show up for the committee meeting in two weeks to talk about Frederick Douglass.

"This should never happen in 2018 in the United States of America. People without money deserve quick turnover and changes," said Council President Darius Pridgen.

"The conclusion will happen over the next two months when the temperature is 12 degrees and the temperature is 10 degrees and people need to wash their hands and people need to take a bath."