(l-r) Hamburg Community Development Director Christopher Hull, HUD Buffalo Office Director Joan Spilman, and Hamburg Town Supervisor Steven Walters
On Wednesday, April 2, the HUD Buffalo Field Office Director, Joan Spilman, joined with the Buffalo Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Division (FHEO), in a truly collaborative effort, to celebrate the 46th Anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act by inviting western New York communities to proclaim April, 2014 as Fair Housing Month. The event was held in the Town of Hamburg's Town Hall atrium room.
Joan Spilman and Andrij Pryshlak, FHEO Director Buffalo Office, were joined by the Honorable Steven Walters, Hamburg Town Supervisor; Hamburg Community Development Director, Christopher Hull; and, Cathy Rybczynski, Town Clerk. Mr. Hull acted as the Master of Ceremonies and, after opening the festivities, introduced the Town Supervisor. Mr. Walters welcomed the attendees and outlined the positive steps the community has taken to affirmatively further fair housing. Then, Mr. Scott Gehl, Executive Director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc., a Fair Housing Initiatives Program recipient, addressed the gathering. Remarks from Ms. Spilman and Mr. Pryshlak highlighted recent HUD achievements. Finally, proclamations from the County of Erie, the cities of Niagara Falls and Jamestown and the Towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga, Hamburg and Tonawanda were received by Ms. Spilman and Mr. Pryshlak on behalf of HUD.
The yearly event, attended by local government officials, advocates of fair housing and members of the community, has become a highlight in western New York in April, and is anticipated as much as the coming of spring. As spring signifies a re-birth, this event provides all with the opportunity to renew our commitment to work together to guarantee the rights for all Americans to decent, safe and fair housing.