Success Stories

HOME aims to make an impact on each client that comes to us for assistance. Read about a few of our clients that we have been able to assist by clicking on the names below.

Naima's Story

In December of 2007, Naima Stewart, an African-American, came to HOME after being denied the opportunity to rent several apartments on Huntington Avenue in the City of Buffalo. Naima was denied the apartments because she had a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, which would help pay her rent. Discrimination based on lawful source of income is prohibited in the City of Buffalo, and therefore HOME and Naima were able to pursue the case. They had a long road ahead of them, though.

The properties were owned by California investor Donald Peterson and listed by University Property Management. The first step was an investigation that revealed the landlord was, in fact, illegally denying housing based on source of income. After nearly eight years and much frustration, the case was finally resolved in State Supreme Court in March 2015, where the landlord and property manager were found liable for more than $51,000 in damages and attorney's fees.

Naima was a special guest at our 52nd Annual Dinner Celebration in April and received a standing ovation for her tenacity in pursuing this case and not giving up until justice was won.

Cathelma's Story

After years of waiting, Cathelma Ray finally received a Section 8 voucher towards the end of January 2015. At the time, she was living in an area of Buffalo with a poverty rate of nearly 40%, but she was determined to use her voucher to move to an area that had more to offer. She desired peace and quiet and to live closer to her family members in the first ring suburbs outside the city. Cathelma learned about HOME’s Community Housing Center at her Section 8 orientation and signed up to enter the program in early February. Ms. Ray met with HOME’s Mobility Counselor to discuss her housing preferences and receive assistance in locating a suitable unit.

She quickly identified a senior housing complex in Cheektowaga which would accept her Section 8 voucher and where she would be able to use HOME’s security deposit assistance to ease the burden of her move. Her new community, with a far lower instance of poverty, provides her with better access to resources and a proximity to her family. Although it was previously beyond her means, Ms. Ray’s Section 8 voucher has provided her with the opportunity to live in decent, affordable housing in a desirable community. HOME is proud to work every day to ensure that individuals like Cathelma, and all residents of WNY, have the equal opportunity to live in the housing and communities of their choice.

The Connors

Stacy and Alan have two sons--Adam, 6, and Brennan, 8. They were living with Stacy's parents while searching for a home of their own. Excited about finding an apartment in a building just around the corner from her parents, Stacy called to make an appointment. She took her sons along for the ride, and as they approached the owner, he called out, "Did you call about the apartment? Is it for you and your kids?" Stacy responded, "Yes." Without hesitation the owner shot back, "I don't rent to anyone with kids.

Desperate, Stacy told the owner that her parents lived just around the corner and that her children would spend most of their time visiting their grandparents. The owner was unmoved. Adam and Brennan were disappointed and understood fully: "That man didn't want us!"

Stacy called HOME which immediately began an investigation that provided evidence that the owner was discriminating against families with children. HOME prepared a federal complaint and ultimately prevailed before a State Administrative Law Judge. The owner appealed the verdict. The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the $45,000 award against him.

With HOME's help, the Connors were able to not only find a home in the neighborhood of their choice but also obtain justice.

Sara

Sara is legally blind with a seeing-eye dog as a service animal. She was searching for an apartment in Hamburg and one landlord told her, "Absolutely no pets." Sara explained that the guide dog was not a pet but a service animal. The landlord still refused Sara the apartment in which she was interested, saying that she should have told him over the phone that she was blind because this was wasting his time. Sara did not know what to do; she called HOME for help.

HOME was able to advise her on her rights under the fair housing laws, explaining reasonable accommodations to the policies for people with disabilities and to bring a successful complaint against the landlord.

Ken

Excited over the possibility of moving into a new neighborhood, Ken viewed his Section 8 voucher as a new beginning in life. He began his search for housing with an examination of neighborhoods throughout Western New York and decided he wanted to live in Buffalo's University District. Upon viewing an apartment, he was told that the landlord would not accept Section 8 because they never accepted it in the past. "The landlord is just mean," the rental agent said. Ken's hopes were dashed. He turned to HOME for help.

HOME's investigation proved that source of income discrimination had occurred. HOME was able to get Ken the housing of his choice.