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PushBuffalo.org

A new program is expected to make some Western New York businesses more energy efficient. The community housing organization PUSH Buffalo is leading an effort that’s also expected to create local jobs.

The PUSH Green building retrofit program begins by linking non-profit organizations and small businesses with a registered architect who will act as their energy advocate. The advocate will work with the client on identifying what incentives are available to them from the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority, NYSERDA.

Daniel Robison / WNED

Competition in the Sustainable Urban Housing Contest was stiff. There were more than 300 entries - some from as far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina.

But the Green Development Zone, a creation of not-for-profit PUSH Buffalo, won out earlier this week, collecting $10,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State Department.

"We immediately broke into a celebratory mood here in the office and had an ice cream party that included community residents," says Aaron Bartley, founder of PUSH Buffalo.

Video by Nick Gunner.

As an iconic Rust Belt city, Buffalo has seen half of its population leave since 1950. But now, thousands are moving in: refugees from Burma, Sudan and other remote and conflicted places. 

Community leaders are trying to turn their relocation into a renaissance.

Video by Nick Gunner.

Buffalo's West Side is symbolic of where the city's been in the last half-century. It's gone from a crown jewel in a thriving city, to one of the poorest neighborhoods in one of the poorest cities in the country.

But community organizers are trying to create a formula to jumpstart the area's economy.

Linden Tea / via Flickr

Fifty years ago, Buffalo's West Side was thriving. Local stores were supported by a neighborhood full of people with good jobs at factories, mills, and shipping yards.

When the jobs left, so did the people. As the city's economy declined, so did its housing stock. But remnants of the old days are informing a growing movement to bring the West Side back.

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