Publication Date



Economic Development


The combination of densely concentrated, racialized poverty with housing vacancy, abandonment, and blight is overwhelming many urban neighborhoods in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Anti-poverty policies must address the fact that poverty is both widespread, with roughly half of people in poverty living outside the cities, and yet highly concentrated, with poverty rates in the cities nearly four times as high as those outside the cities. Urban poverty and abandonment create a vicious cycle in which cities are left with the highest needs and the least resources (i.e., the lowest property tax base) to address those needs. Thus, county, state, and federal governments need to steer more resources toward cities and enact policies that deter sprawl and focus investment in urban cores. Efficient programs to address urban poverty and blight include “double-win” programs which pay disadvantaged urban workers a living wage to redress urban blight by repairing housing and cleaning and greening vacant lots in tightly targeted redevelopment zones.