Highland Clubhouse has received a grant of $50,000 to support the development of a community space where neighbors of all ages are welcomed for activities and education that foster improvement in the community. The clubhouse is only a few blocks from the former Centre Avenue Community Center, which closed 10 years ago leaving a gap in neighborhood activities.
This grant represents an annual entitlement received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act 2020 has allowed the City of Niagara Falls to award approximately $2 million in supplemental funding. Highland Clubhouse was one of the Niagara Falls agencies awarded to support community development needs, all funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Highland Clubhouse will be a fully functioning community space in the Highland area. It will be open seven days a week, offering programs such as mentoring, health and wellness initiatives, civic engagement, community events, and kitchen and laundry facilities for 500 people annually. Co-founders of the clubhouse, Keyona Dunn (community currency coordinator at Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative and founder of Wish Mentoring) and Krista Ehasz (program associate at BlueCross BlueShield of WNY) said that the clubhouse will allow their community to grow.
“This grant allows the people who I love, live amongst, play amongst and work with an opportunity to connect with much-needed resources,” Dunn said. “Our youth will have a safe space to grow and connect in a positive manner.”
Ehasz said she is thrilled the clubhouse can continue to build a sense of belonging in the community by connecting neighbors to neighbors.
“We are so overjoyed that the city has chosen to support the clubhouse through CDBG funding this year,” Ehasz said. “This has been a labor of love for the past several years and it means so much that the city has faith in our shared vision for the Highland community. We are more excited than ever to move forward with the clubhouse and this has given us something to truly be hopeful about in these uncertain times. Thanks to the City of Niagara Falls for investing in rebuilding our village.”
While the bulk of the award will be put toward property renovation, the main goals of the clubhouse are to: Distribute PPE, food, and other items to meet community needs; continue to create a positive and welcoming space for families the neighborhood; and continue to provide programming in creative ways such as virtual workshops, online outreach, and food deliveries until the facility is complete and COVID-19 guidelines are relaxed.
Highland Clubhouse is a nonprofit organization focused on providing a safe community space for the residents of the Highland neighborhood in Niagara Falls. Learn more at www.highlandclubhouse.com.