The West Side Community Collaborative

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10/4/2010

The West Side Community Collaborative

The west side of Buffalo, NY has had a bad reputation for a long time now, but it hasn’t always been that way. Many years ago the area known as the west side was a popular and extravagant place to live. Through years of economic hardships however, the west side took a wrong turn somewhere. It is now viewed by many people as “a lost cause.” The crime rates have skyrocketed and the standard of living has plummeted. Gangs are a huge issue in the west side of Buffalo because the gang members scare and intimidate the residents of nearby homes. People are not reporting major crimes because they are scared that they will get hurt because of it. The tenth street gang has been known of by authorities for a long time, but they cannot be caught because nobody is willing to testify against them as a witness. So, people are getting robbed, harassed and shot everyday and nothing is being done about it. The West Side Community Collaborative, or WSCC, is an agency that is based off of the idea that you can’t come up with an amazing plan and expect it to happen on its own. You have to do it yourself! When other people see the good things that are coming from your work, they will want to be a part of it. WSCC uses it’s intertwined group of organizations and community residents to pursue a common goal to revitalize one of Buffalo’s most troubled areas: the west side. Starting with streets closest to more highly valued neighborhoods, like the Elmwood District, the first step is to beautify the neighborhoods. The insightful leader of this organization, Harvey Garrett, organizes “block clubs” to begin the beautification. A block club is a group of people living on a street that combine their efforts to improve their living conditions. After Garrett gets the block clubs started, they often take off on their own, upon learning what it is possible to accomplish. The block clubs begin by taking care of the vacant houses on the...
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