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NYS: $1.4 million to help east Buffalo residents impacted by Tops Market shooting


Fri, Mar 31st 2023 01:30 pm

Grants will fund culturally relevant and community-based wellness initiatives

√ Applications continue to be accepted for second round of funding through 'Reimagine: I am the Change' initiative

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced more than $1.4 million in federal funding to support mental health programs in east Buffalo following the Tops Market shooting last year. Administered by the State Office of Mental Health, the awards include funding for six community-based organizations to provide an array of mental health resources to help residents impacted by the shooting that killed 10 individuals last year.

"As members of the east Buffalo community continue to heal from the Tops Market shooting, we remain committed to taking on systemic challenges to help recover and build back stronger," Hochul said. "Many of these individuals continue to deal with the stress, fear, anger and feelings of hopelessness caused by this tragedy. The programs funded by these awards will help this community heal and recover from the stress and shock they continue to experience from this horrific shooting."

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "The trauma of the shooting, and the loss of neighbors, friends and family, is devastating. These awards will help provide much-needed support and services to a community that has suffered greatly."

HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the Leader of SAMHSA, Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., said, "We hope that these funds will continue to help people in the Buffalo community get the services and supports they need to promote resiliency. We recognize that pain and trauma persist, long after the media coverage has gone away, and we want the community to have the resources needed to work through the ongoing impact of this tragedy on mental health and overall well-being."

The grant provides $1 million to establish “Reimagine: I am the Change,” a dedicated fund to support grassroots, community-based wellness initiatives that help fill a gap in east Buffalo for culturally relevant mental wellness and healing practices that are sufficiently resourced, coordinated and marketed. The first round of award recipients include:

√ Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc: Art That Heals; $100,000

√ Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc: Healing Together: A Family & Community Healing Collaborative; $50,000

√ Confident Girl Mentoring: Support for Children Impacted by Trauma; $40,000

√ Cultrue Inc: The New Masters Healing Buffalo through the Arts; $126,200

√ Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective: Celestial Jazz Wellness Series; $128,000

√ The Galactic Tribe: The Wakademy; $95,000

Hochul’s team said:

An additional $363,250 will support the Black Mental Health Response Team, a dedicated team of Black/African American clinicians and other mental health staff operated by BestSelf Behavioral Health to provide rapid access to professional, culturally appropriate mental health outreach, engagement and clinical support to address existing shortages of therapeutic and other mental health supports provided by Black/African American mental health professionals in east Buffalo.

The funding will also provide $116,609 for the Psychological First Aid Train-the-Trainer initiative to create a local cadre of individuals in the impacted communities trained to provide training. This nationally recognized model is designed to help people cope with the stress, shock, confusion, fear, feelings of hopelessness, grief, anger, guilt and withdrawal that arise when a traumatic event has occurred.

Funding for the awards was provided through a $2.35 million emergency response grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide support to residents of east Buffalo. This grant supports a holistic approach to mental health care that includes three major program components, including wellness initiatives, mental health outreach and training.

Congressman Brian Higgins said, "Helping our community rebuild and recover following the racist mass shooting at Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo means investing in community resources delivered by trusted messengers. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the May 14th tragedy, our community is still mourning the loss of our neighbors and the wounds are still fresh. We are delivering federal funding that will provide east Buffalo residents with support within the community that leads toward long-term recovery following this traumatic day."

The Office of Mental Health continues to accept applications for a second round of awards through April 28. For more information or to receive an application, email [email protected].

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