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NYS: $2.5 million in new funding for additional services to individuals impacted by Buffalo Tops Market shooting


Wed, Mar 29th 2023 07:35 pm

Funding allows Buffalo United Resiliency Center to immediately increase staffing; ensures necessary operational support to serve survivors, family members of victims, Tops employees, surrounding community

Buffalo Urban League and Community Health Centers of Buffalo will partner to operate Buffalo United Resiliency Center and work with steering committee to develop and implement programs and services that align with the committee's ‘community needs assessment’

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.5 million in new state funding for services to individuals impacted by the shooting at the Tops market on Buffalo's east side on May 14, 2022. The Buffalo Urban League will lead a new partnership with Community Health Centers of Buffalo to operate the Buffalo United Resiliency Center with new state funding provided by the New York State Office of Victim Services through June 2025. 

Hochul’s team said, “This infusion of state funding allows the Buffalo United Resiliency Center to immediately increase staffing, and ensures that it has the necessary operational and administrative support needed to serve victims and survivors, Tops employees, and the community surrounding the market. The two organizations will partner with the Resiliency Center's existing steering committee to develop and implement programs and services that align with the committee's recently completed needs assessment.”

The governor said, "The May 14 attack brought further harm to a community that has long struggled with economic disparities, inequitable access to basic services and entrenched racism. New York state will not waiver in its support for the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood, and its residents as it continues to heal from this tragedy. This additional funding allows us to expand services and programs to fellow New Yorkers who deserve to see our love and support turned into action."

Chardanay (Char) Young-Ford will serve as the interim director of the Buffalo United Resiliency Center (BURC), which will be immediately staffed by four case managers and two outreach specialists. Ford will work with The Buffalo Urban League (BUL), Community Health Centers of Buffalo (CHCB), and the steering committee to design and implement service delivery and programming in ways that align with the "needs assessment" recently completed by the steering committee. These needs include, but are not limited to, access to housing, access to transportation, emergency and long-term food access, as well as assistance with rental, utility, and other arrears.

Starting Wednesday, April 5, the BURC will be operational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 1149 Jefferson Ave., Suite A.

In addition to enabling the BURC to immediately expand its capacity, the new funding will also continue to support the work of the steering committee, which is led by Dina Thompson, executive director of the Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, through the duration of state funding.

New York State Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "Immediately after the hate-fueled attack in Buffalo, we sent staff to the city to assist those directly affected and members of the community. Gov. Hochul has led the way to ensure that funding and resources are available to continue providing aid and support to victims, families, workers and residents whose lives were disrupted by the attack. We will continue working with our partners in Buffalo to support healing, reduce gun violence and provide support and opportunities to those affected by this devastating act of violence."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I'm grateful that Gov. Kathy Hochul continues to deliver needed resources as we partner to serve the needs of east Buffalo and Buffalo's Black community. The Buffalo United Resiliency Center is a great asset for east Buffalo, providing critical services to our healing community. Their expansion will go a long way in supporting everyone affected by the horrific tragedy that occurred on 5/14/2022."

Buffalo Urban League President and CEO Thomas Beauford Jr. said, "The Buffalo Urban League, in strategic alliance with the Community Health Center of Buffalo, will leverage our existing complement of programs, direct services and trusted voices to help meet some very essential challenges as informed by our community. Through this collective, and this enhanced New York state funding, the community will have a resiliency center that is highly responsive and resourceful in addressing a wide spectrum of social determinants of health and wealth."

Community Health Center of Buffalo Executive Director and CEO Dr. LaVonne Ansari said, "This is important work that we are part of. We ensure that we will do our best to meet the needs of our community."

This state funding will complement federal funding available through the federal Office for Victims of Crime Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program. That funding must be used to serve federally defined, legally identified victims: families of the men and women killed and individuals who were injured; Tops employees who were in the store at the time of the shooting; anyone in the market or parking lot at the time of the shooting; those within a one-block radius of the crime scene; and first responders.

Hochul’s team said, “OVS provides a critical safety net for individuals who have expenses or losses resulting from a crime, but have no resources to pay or offset them. This financial assistance covers medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance. While state law limits the amount of certain compensation and reimbursement, New York is the only state in the country that has no cap on medical and counseling expenses, which means individuals can receive assistance over the course of their lifetime.

The agency also funds a network of more than 200 victim assistance programs – including a dozen in Buffalo – that provide direct services to victims and survivors of crime, including therapy, support groups, case management, emergency shelter, civil legal assistance, accompaniment to court, and transportation, among others. The agency also provides financial assistance and reimbursement to eligible crime victims for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other assistance.”

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