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Hochul announces dedicated outreach team to connect east Buffalo residents with programs & services


Mon, Mar 13th 2023 02:20 pm

Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers to provide community engagement to residents

√ Part of governor's commitment of $50 million in targeted investments in east Buffalo

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $500,000 has been awarded to a local human services agency to conduct community and direct, door-to-door outreach to households in the east Buffalo community to help residents access government benefits, services and programs.

Her team said, “This effort was first announced in June, as part of a larger $50 million slate of targeted investments to address the community's needs in the aftermath of a racially motivated shooting attack at a local grocery store in May.”

Hochul said, "As we continue to help the east Buffalo community recover from the horrific May 14 attack, we remain committed to addressing systemic inequities that have left many of its residents behind for decades. We are responding to the community's concerns and working closely with the city, the county, community members and other partners to right the wrongs of the past, recognizing there is much work still to be done to build a fairer, more equitable future in Buffalo."

The state worked with Erie County and the City of Buffalo to create an outreach program that will be run by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers.

Hochul’s team said, “The organization will provide direct, one-on-one intensive benefits access and case management services to reduce what local organizations have described as a notable gap between the availability of benefits and services and their utilization in this community.

“Using culturally competent, trauma-informed methods, the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc. will provide door-to-door canvassing of households in east Buffalo to provide information on available benefits and services, with a focus on the following zip codes: 14204, 14208, 14209, 14211, 14212 and 14215.

“Trained staff will be able to identify specific social services, housing, and similar needs, take immediate action to address those needs, make referrals, and track the progress of benefits cases. The team will provide direct access to programs and services including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); public assistance; STAR property tax exemptions; Medicaid, Medicare and other Health Exchange options; Children's Health Insurance Plan and State Children's Health Insurance Plan.

“The Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers will also hold 15 or more community outreach events over the next year, in coordination with faith-based and other community-based organizations. These events will be organized to facilitate maximum community participation.”

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Our agency oversees numerous programs that can help low-income households meet their needs and advance toward economic security. These programs and services exist to help our fellow New Yorkers in their time of need, and we encourage those who may be eligible to apply."

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "OMH is pleased to support this critical initiative to ensure people living in east Buffalo who were most impacted by this tragedy have access to essential social services and benefits they need to fully recover. This intensive outreach will ensure that all residents will be reached and have access to the benefits and services needed to rebuild and grow their community."

New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "This larger $50 million state investment is monumental for Buffalo, and yet it means very little if residents don't know how to access the dedicated services and programs that are available. This outreach is a critical component of connecting people to benefits and resources that will fully support efforts to strengthen our community and the hardworking families who call it home."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Erie County is proud to partner with NYS and the City of Buffalo to better serve residents and ensure that access to needed programs and services is equitably available to all. Many individuals and families are not aware of the resources that are here to help them; and direct, person-to person contact is a good way to raise that awareness. Efforts like this lead to a stronger, more resilient and better-connected community, and I thank Gov. Hochul for this commitment."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I am grateful that Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc. has been designated for this crucial project. Using $500,000 to connect east Buffalo to services is an important step in helping people draw down on resources available to them. I am hopeful this canvassing will lead to real results in the lives of east Buffalo residents, and I look forward to seeing positive results."

CEO of Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Chandra Redfern said, "This is a perfect project for our community-based agency, and we are proud and energized by the opportunity to make an impact. We continue to reimagine services to a changing community. This project allows us to meet residents who may need assistance where they are. The focus on customer service and providing a helping hand are empowering."

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