Fruit Belt will im­prove be­cause of union, coali­tion

The Buffalo News - - OPINION - Ed­die Mae Har­ris

I have been a res­i­dent of the Fruit Belt neigh­bor­hood since 1994. This is an ag­ing com­mu­nity, with the av­er­age age of res­i­dents be­ing over 60. Most res­i­dents are liv­ing on a fixed in­come.

Like many houses in Buf­falo, our homes were built in the 1800s, which you can ex­pect over time need to be re­mod­eled. A lot of us do not have the money to do re­pairs on our homes.

There is a lot of un­cer­tainty for res­i­dents in the Fruit Belt. We’re un­sure if we will be able to af­ford to live here in the fu­ture. I want to see this com­mu­nity thrive but not at the ex­pense of the long­time res­i­dents.

I had the plea­sure of be­ing in­tro­duced to John Mudie, pres­i­dent of the Buf­falo AFL-CIO Cen­tral La­bor Coun­cil, through the Coali­tion for Eco­nomic Jus­tice. Mr. Mudie worked with com­mu­nity mem­bers to compile a list of re­pairs needed in their homes. I needed win­dows to be re­paired and Mr. Mudie came to meet with me and mea­sure the win­dow and check light­ing fix­tures. Within a cou­ple of weeks my cus­tom win­dow will be de­liv­ered and they will in­stall it. It’s good to know that the unions see the im­por­tance of help­ing the com­mu­nity.

My home is only one of many in this com­mu­nity that needs ren­o­va­tions. There are many chal­lenges that res­i­dents face and we need more sup­port from or­ga­ni­za­tions and the com­mu­nity to im­prove con­di­tions for the res­i­dents.

I am grate­ful to the Buf­falo AFL-CIO Cen­tral La­bor Coun­cil and the Coali­tion for Eco­nomic Jus­tice for their sup­port and com­mit­ment to the Fruit Belt.

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