People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo, or PUSH Buffalo, is redeveloping Public School 77, which will include “over 30 green affordable rental units for seniors, a new office space for PUSH, theater facilities for Ujima Co., office and program space for Peace of the City, and open recreational space for community members,” according to PUSH's Director of Policy and Strategy Clarke Gocker.
The organization is one of several area organizations that have bought and upgraded abandoned properties. Founded in 2005 by Aaron Bartley and Eric Walker, PUSH works to create stable neighborhoods with affordable housing, decrease the rate of housing abandonment, and develop neighborhood leaders with the ability to gain community control over the development process.
To create access to low-cost renewable electricity for low-income community residents, the group will install a community shared solar system on the roof.
“School 77 is a $15 million project financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits,” Gocker says.
Since its inception, PUSH has insulated hundreds of homes around the city. Solar panels have been installed on homes so people can generate their electricity and combat the extremely high and unaffordable heat bills.
These green homes are providing a warm, affordable environment for low-income folks, including immigrant families, according to Gocker. He invites people to take a walk down Massachusetts Avenue to see the beautiful homes that were rehabilitated by PUSH in 2012.
In the coming months, PUSH will also be launching an EPA-funded job-training program.