'Affordable Housing Month' To Be Celebrated By UB Law School

$165 million in affordable housing leveraged by UB clinic over 20 years

Release Date: September 7, 2007 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Law School's Affordable Housing Clinic this month is celebrating 20 years of creating high-quality, low-income housing to meet the needs of residents of Western New York with a series of roundtables and conferences investigating new opportunities in housing development, urban renewal and economic development.

The Law School's "Affordable Housing Month" will celebrate the $165 million in affordable housing funding secured for Western New York projects by law students and law faculty participating in the law school's Affordable Housing Clinic since its founding in 1987.

"The UB Law School and its Affordable Housing Clinic are proud to have provided a valuable service to Western New York and Upstate New York by offering creative ways that affordable housing can be financed and developed," said George Hezel, director of the clinic and clinical professor of law at the UB Law School.

Projects funded with the UB Law School's Affordable Housing Clinic assistance have created 2,000 units of affordable housing for low-income families, the elderly, targets of domestic violence and persons with disabilities, noted Nils Olsen, dean of the UB Law School.

The clinic's work is part of the UB 2020 emphasis on civic engagement and public policy, which is focusing university-wide intellectual strengths on understanding and finding solutions to social problems that are confronted by the community.

"Together, a community and a university can accomplish many great things," Olsen said. "The measure of a community's compassion often is demonstrated in the ways people and organizations unite to help the less fortunate."

The centerpiece of the month-long Affordable Housing celebration is the Fourth Annual Upstate Affordable Housing Conference to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It will be presented by the UB Affordable Housing Clinic, the New York State Bar Association, state Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the state Association for Affordable Housing.

The conference will bring together statewide housing professionals for an educational program covering a broad range of topics in affordable housing policy, community development and construction.

According to Hezel, the conference for the first time will focus a session on creation of affordable, environmentally friendly "green" housing. Panelists will include Michael Colgrove, senior project manager, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Samuel D. Magavern, instructor, UB Law's Affordable Housing Clinic; F.L. Andrew Padian, senior housing specialist, Steve Winter Associates; and Walter Simpson, UB energy officer. Bernie Carr, executive director, New York State Association for Affordable Housing, will be the moderator. For more information about the conference, go to http://www.nysafah.org/upstate.

Other main events of the month-long celebration are the Affordable Housing and the Environment Roundtable to be held from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Cornell University ILR School in Buffalo. "The High Road Runs Through the City: Advocating for Economic Justice at the Local Level," a community economic-development conference, will be held Sept. 27-28 at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency. For more information about the events, go to http://www.law.buffalo.edu/ClinicEvents.

The roundtable will focus on Buffalo's unique set of overlapping housing and environmental problems, including abandoned housing, older housing, high utilities, brownfields and sprawl. UB's Magavern will present highlights from his study on affordable housing and the environment in Buffalo; local housing leaders will offer their insights and ideas.

Sponsored by the Cornell ILR School, UB's Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, UB Law School and the Coalition for Economic Justice, the "High Road" conference will feature presentations on poverty, wage policies, economic development and environmental protection. Speakers will include Bill McKibben, author of "Deep Economy," and Greg LeRoy, author of "The Great American Jobs Scam." Conference organizers from UB include Magavern, Sara Faherty, clinical instructor, Affordable Housing Clinic and the Community Economic Development Clinic, and Martha McCluskey, the William J. Magavern Faculty Scholar and Professor.

Working with the region's prominent community organizations, UB Law's Affordable Housing Clinic over the years has helped develop many of Western New York's most vital community resources, including the Cornerstone Manor, Trinity Park Senior Apartments, Hope House, St. Ann's Apartments and Carolyn's House of Niagara Falls, which houses 19 homeless women and their children.

"We couldn't have created Carolyn's House without the help of UB and the clinic," said Kathleen Granchelli, CEO of YWCA of Niagara, which operates the house. "We are 'UB Believers' at the YWCA of Niagara."

The UB clinic's good work has also provided many dynamic opportunities for law students to train for an important area of legal practice -- affordable housing development, noted Hezel.

"Our students learn to be effective planners and problem solvers, instead of focusing their talents solely on litigation," he said. "Their problem-solving abilities are attractive to employers and are very valuable to their communities."

The UB Law School's celebration of Affordable Housing Month is supported by Citizens Bank, R&P Oak Hill Development, LLC, and Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, LLP.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 27,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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