The University at Buffalo is going to revitalize the University District. One way they are doing it is by encouraging home ownership around their South Campus. Since 2016, UB’s Home Ownership Made Easy (H.O.M.E) Program aids full-time faculty and staff at the university to buy homes in the district. The loans are interest-free.
This year, the university is offering the same program to part-timer faculty and staff as well. Tess Morrissey is the Director of Community Relations at UB, she said moving young families into the neighborhood will help to diversify it.
“Let’s say they are usually full-time,” she said. “Might’ve just had a kid and are dropping down to part-time for a few months, and it just so happens they are looking for a house during those few months. We don’t want to miss those folks, we want to make sure this benefit is available to them.”
Helping to diversify the neighborhood will go a long way in removing the stigma associated with the University District: that it is an area of parties and police activity when classes are in session. Morrissey said the school would like to change that particular narrative about the neighborhood.
“Right now there are already a lot of families,” she said of the University Heights neighborhood. “Retired people. Just a real wide mix of people that live here.”
Morrissey said $7,500 in loans will go to an eligible home purchased in the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood. $5,000 from UB and $2,500 from West Side Neighborhood Housing Services. Of that, $2,500 would be forgiven by the university after five years of owner occupancy, while the owner will still owe West Side NHS the initial $2,500 when the home is sold. The same plan is in place for the University Heights neighborhood around Main Street and Winspear Avenue, except the total loan is $5,000.