Building a Better World

Advancing Affordable Housing in Buffalo and Beyond

From run-down duplexes on Buffalo’s West Side to low-income communities around the globe, the lack of adequate, affordable housing affects billions of people. Current policies and systems aren’t enough, which is why we’re thinking boldly about how to attack the problem, thanks to support from forward-thinking donors.

See the impact of overpriced housing, and how UB students, faculty, staff, and alumni are coming together to find solutions.

Help Make Housing Affordable

In the United States, most people living in poverty spend more than half of their income on rent. Even when housing is affordable, it’s often dependent on low-income tax credits, which aren’t guaranteed for the future.

Continued impact on affordable housing requires philanthropic investments. Will you help us make a difference?

Partnering with the Community, Taking a Holistic View

UB is training developers and planners to understand and address the effects of redlining and other discriminatory policies.

There is not one single solution to making housing more affordable. That’s why we’re taking a comprehensive approach as a leading public research university, starting with empathy to understand and address the needs of the community, including:

  • Driving the development of new, innovative and affordable alternatives for housing
  • Understanding how housing impacts health, safety, economic opportunity, quality of life and food security.
  • Supporting Community-Based Real Estate Development Training (CBRED), which empowers residents to ward off absentee landlords and land speculators.
  • Studying the root causes of the affordable housing crisis and racial impacts (e.g., Black homeownership is 40% lower than white homeownership).

New Graduate Certificate in Affordable Housing

UB’s new certificate program trains students and professionals to design, plan, and develop affordable housing through real-world projects, while also breaking down stereotypes.

  • Students and faculty will ultimately build housing prototypes for underserved neighborhoods in Buffalo
  • Prototypes will be replicable both for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S.
  • The interdisciplinary program is open to students from all academic backgrounds

I found that there was only one other public university on the East Coast that offered such a program, which makes it difficult for younger people with limited means and opportunity.”

- Donald Capoccia, ’78, UB alumnus and affordable housing developer

Local, National, Global Impact

UB students, faculty, staff and alumni are making a difference in Buffalo and around the world.

A heart and a coin representing the idea of paying it forward.

Education and Training

“We are already seeing a number of our graduates with burgeoning careers in affordable housing,” notes Matthew Roland, UB assistant dean and clinical assistant professor of real estate development.

UB grads can be found all over the world.

New Homes

An architecture studio developed affordable “tiny home” prototypes, now under construction in Syracuse, New York.

UB grads stand out amongst the rest.

Thought Leadership

We will be a thought leader on housing policy. Our affordable housing symposium featured nationally recognized speakers and brought together 160 people.

UB and Buffalo: The Ideal Testing Ground

Why is Buffalo a perfect living laboratory for teaching about (and testing) affordable housing?

One out of every three residents in Buffalo can only afford $500 a month in rent. Combine that with our old housing stock (most of which was built before 1940) and you have a living laboratory for teaching and testing affordable housing.

“A real-world project is the fastest way they’re going to learn, so they can take that knowledge and apply it to the affordable housing problem that we have,” notes Matthew Roland.

UB is also the only SUNY institution with a real estate program, making us perfectly positioned to take the lead on affordable housing initiatives. Our proven prototype model focuses on a continuous cycle of designing, building, and then evaluating the results.

If we can solve affordable housing in Buffalo, where 30% of the population is below the poverty line, we can solve it anywhere."

- Matthew Roland, AICP, Assistant Dean for the Real Estate Development program and Clinical Assistant Professor

Helping Students Make an ‘Immediate Impact’

We Are Boldly Buffalo explores the development of UB's One World Cafe, and how it brought together students, faculty, staff and grads.

Recent UB grad Mythea Mazzola shares how she’s using improving lives with what she learned at UB

At UB, students experience firsthand what’s happening in Buffalo. They see the challenges the city faces. And with their fresh perspective, says Mythea Mazzola '21, “they’re not limited by how things have always been done. They can come up with innovative ideas, and bring those to the community to potentially implement.”

Donor Support Helps Students, Changes the World

Gifts from UB alumni and others provide critical financial support. Through scholarships and other funds, students who might not otherwise be able to attend UB can get their degree, and participate in life-changing programs and projects.

“If it weren’t for UB and public universities, I would never have earned the credentials that allowed me to speak with some level of confidence as I was putting together my business,” says Donald Capoccia, '78.

“Donors help us throw light on a given question. They give us a magnifying glass to focus on certain types of work, but they also can turn it around and give you the binoculars to look way down the road."
- Robert G. Shibley, Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning

Karen Gerhardt shares her story of why she supported the development of One World Cafe.

Hear why New York City developer Donald Capoccia, ’78, helped launch the affordable housing initiative at UB

Invest in the future

Your investment in UB will make a difference for a cause that matters to you: whether you make a gift to the UB Fund, support a scholarship for one UB student, sustain the work of a professor who will inspire thousands, or fund a cancer cure that saves the lives of millions. Every gift counts!

Together We Support Students Now

At UB, we are committed to providing the experiences, places, and opportunities for students to thrive and work towards their dreams. Together, across boundaries, schools, and organizations, we are finding solutions to some of the most pressing issues in society. Explore some of the other ways people have invested in the robust culture at UB that has provided a variety of opportunities for our students.

Fostering Innovation

The Social Impact Fellows internship program takes students from the schools of management, social work and arts and sciences, assigning them to a different organization in Western New York where they can enact social innovation. Teams work together to create different and better solutions, learning how to work toward social change, how to pitch and create buy in. It shows students that we have to come together to make this work.

Our entire community benefits from this structure, from students, who are learning to solve problems and collaborate, to community organizations, that benefit from programs designed to meet their needs. UB understands that a broader lens is required to find bold solutions and the Social Impact Fellows program tasks graduate students from different schools to work together and put ideas into action.

Lighting the Flame of Knowledge

How can we design more equitable cities? What does justice mean in today’s society? How do we ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of decision-making? At UB we strive to address these (and other) essential questions, instill core values in our students, and create more just communities here in Buffalo—and far beyond. As the world around us rapidly changes, so too does the law. It’s our mission to be the catalyst of that change, and provide access to education regardless of what students look like or where they come from, rooted in a strong foundation of social justice.

Fieldhouse of Dreams

Tunney Murchie (MBA ‘76, BS ‘75), Deanna Murchie (BS ‘74) and their family believe in collegiate athletics. They also understand that while UB provides an outstanding education, student athletes didn't have the space they needed to hold practice no matter the Buffalo weather.

That’s why they gave the single largest gift ever made to the athletic department to help turn the long-awaited 92,000-square-foot fieldhouse into a reality.