Many old homes in Buffalo, N.Y., are abandoned and targeted for demolition. Through the city’s Urban Homestead program, preservation activists are getting residents to buy such homes for $1 each and promise to renovate and move into them. (Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times)

Selling Homes for $1 Instead of Demolition | Buffalonians are purchasing homes for just one dollar through a city program, while at the same time helping bring blighted properties in neighborhoods back to life.

Matthew Newton purchased a home that’s over 200 years old on the east side. Newton purchased the home through Buffalo’s Urban Homestead Program three and a half years ago. The floors were collapsing into the basement, windows were boarded up and there were no standard systems like electricity.

Newton said, “it’s not necessarily that you can buy a house for a dollar because they need so much work, but it encourages people to stay in the neighborhood and actually live there.”

Under the Urban Homestead Program, the person who purchases the home must fix all code violations within a year and a half, and live in the house for three years.

There are about 4,600 vacant homes in Buffalo and 16,000 vacant lots, said Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning.

The idea of the Dollar Home program is all well and good….but when no one steps forward to buy the homes, neighbors complain about blight, rodents or crime.

Buffalo Urban Homestead Program:

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