ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – University students hope to offer insight and perspective on the housing crisis in the community during their public panel, “Addressing Poverty and Inadequate Housing in Olean,” at noon Thursday in the McGinley-Carney Center for Franciscan Ministry.
Panel participants will include Jeff Reed, attorney and director of Legal Assistance of Western New York; Jodi Fuller, COO of planning and development of Cattaraugus Community Action Inc.; Shannon Higbee, housing director for Housing Options Made Easy, and faculty member Dr. Chris Stanley, founder of Citizens in Action.
One panel organizer, senior Anthony Candelaria, said he grew up in Olean and witnessed the impact of poverty and inadequate housing in the community first-hand. He said that the panel will serve as a wake-up call for many people who are not from the area.
“Some people go to bed thinking ‘where am I going to sleep tomorrow’ or even ‘my door doesn’t lock; it’s a run-down place in a bad neighborhood,’ so I think it will help people see how good they have it,” Candelaria said.
Keegan Miller, an SBU senior and Bona Buddies coordinator, said that the audience will gain valuable knowledge from the panel participants.
“A lot of facts will be presented to them, and they will be able to take away different experiences that people have had with poor housing in the community, how we can interact, how we can make a difference, how we can help those who are less fortunate than us,” Miller said.
Miller also emphasized that the importance of the panel is not limited to the local level.
“It gets the word out about low income and poor housing in our community, not only here at St. Bonaventure and in our community, but around the United States,” Miller said.
The panel discussion is part of the student-driven Day of Action at SBU, which also will include service projects on campus and within the community.