The Center for Urban Studies is working in partnership with the King Urban Life Center (KULC) and the surrounding neighborhood to create a neighborhood plan to regenerate its “shattered urban design” and bolster the housing market for both the homeowner and renter classes in the target area. During the spring of 2015, a group of graduate students enrolled in Dr. Henry L. Taylor’s Race, Class and Gender course (URP 508) embarked on a semester-long research, data gathering and planning process to create a preliminary neighborhood plan for the KULC neighborhood. By “shattered urban design,” the class was referring to “a neighborhood setting characterized by numerous parcels of vacant (unbuilt) lots, abandoned structures combined with many poorly maintained rental properties.” The work on this project is continuing during the 2015-2016 academic year with funding received from a UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy (CEPP) fellowship grant. One of the limitations during the preliminary planning process was the lack of participation on behalf of the renter population in the neighborhood, which makes up around 50 percent of the residents of the target area. The research being explored through the CEPP grant looks at the challenges faced by low-income renters and homeowners in a shrinking, underdeveloped neighborhood in the City of Buffalo. The primary focus of the research will be on the renter class and how the fate of homeowners is linked to their plight. The secondary focus is to understand how the challenges facing the renter class impact homeowners and the overall viability of the housing market in underdeveloped neighborhoods. The Center for Urban Studies believes the findings of this study will provide insights to the challenges faced in neighborhoods across the city and that the recommendations will map out strategies to assist the renter class, help homeowners, strengthen the housing market in an inner-city community and spur neighborhood development.
I am partnering with the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY) to conduct qualitative research on the causes and consequences of homelessness among emerging adults (ages 18-24) in Erie County. We are exploring the living conditions of homeless young people, associated risk and resilience factors, and homeless emerging adults’ perspectives on housing and social services. This collaborative research is supported by the UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy initiative and the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy. The collaboration is expected to produce academic publications as well as a technical report with recommendations for policy and practice.
Partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center in my research titled “Working But Not Employed,” which examines workers who are not protected by labor and employment laws, such as incarcerated and workfare workers.
With this project we partner with Say Yes to Education Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools and the public charter schools to provide Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion support in 21 high schools across the city of Buffalo. More than 50 interns, graduate assistants, service learning students and volunteers participate in this project annually. During the initial year of the project, FAFSA completion rates increased by 61 percent. Currently, approximately two-thirds of all the FAFSAs completed in Buffalo Public Schools are done with the FAFSA completion project.
The Buffalo Poverty Research Workshops offer everyone concerned with Buffalo’s poverty the chance to hear about new and ongoing research, promising strategies and opportunities for collaboration. The workshop is designed for local scholars, social service agencies, advocates, and government leaders and staff, among others, and is always held in downtown Buffalo. The workshops have been held annually beginning in 2010. The co-organizers are UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, and the Partnership for the Public Good. Other sponsors have been involved in some years: the WNY Service Learning Coalition (2010-2013) and the National Center on Family Homelessness (2011). Community-based research by scholars–and also by community researchers, practitioners and policymakers–has been featured each year. Additional locations: Downtown Buffalo; Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Central Library; Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library; Olmsted Center for Sight; St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church Social Center