The Community Health Center of Buffalo, partnered with BestSelf Behavioral Health, will administer counseling and other critical support services to those impacted by the May 14 shooting through Buffalo United Resiliency Center
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins today announced $3,889,303 in federal funding toward the Buffalo United Resiliency Center, through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The representatives said this funding, awarded to Community Health Center of Buffalo and made available through OVC’s Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP), will provide counseling, support services, and assistance to victims and those impacted by the May 14 mass shooting at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue on Buffalo’s east side.
Schumer said, “The pain of the tragic, hateful, mass shooting at the Tops Market will never be forgotten in Buffalo. Since that day, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, BestSelf, and their dedicated staffs have worked to tirelessly to provide the victims of this traumatic event the support and help they need to heal, and this nearly $4 million in federal funding will help them continue within this vital work to bolster mental health and support resources to get care to the people who need it most. Buffalo is the ‘City of Good Neighbors,’ and nowhere is that truer than on the east side; and nowhere is that more evident than in neighbors coming together in projects like the Buffalo United Resiliency Center. I will continue to fight to deliver the federal resources Buffalo needs to heal, allow our neighbors on the east side to help and take care of each other, and address the long-held systemic inequities to lay the foundation for a better future for Western New York."
Gillibrand said, “Ever since the tragic mass shooting that took the lives of 10 innocent people, the Community Health Center of Buffalo has helped provide victims of the tragedy with the vital resources they need to heal. This critical funding will help ensure the Community Health Center of Buffalo can continue its important work to provide counseling and support services for victims of the horrific event. I will continue to fight so the Buffalo community receives the federal resources it needs to provide vital support services to the victims in this healing process.”
Higgins said, “The evil destruction carried out by a racist, mass shooter in just over two minutes, left deep and lasting wounds seen and unseen. Buffalo has always been a community that rallies together in good times and in tough times. The Buffalo United Resiliency Center represents the coming together of agencies to support people who are hurting. We commend Community Health Center of Buffalo and BestSelf for their leadership on this effort and welcome this significant federal investment in community healing.”
Dr. Lavonne Ansari, CEO of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, said, “We at the Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc. are grateful to be awarded this grant to serve the community as a direct response to the Tops mass shooting. The community has been patient and has persevered through our most vulnerable time. It is the intention of the Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc. to make every effort to embrace the community. We intend to use these funds to provide counseling, compensation for expenses, and other services and assistance to the victims.”
Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, LCSW-R, president and CEO of BestSelf Behavioral Health, said, "We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to partner with and provide support to the community and the dedicated team at the Buffalo United Resiliency Center. The supports provided by this funding are vital in promoting the healing process of those impacted by the racist attack on May 14, 2022. At BestSelf Behavioral Health, we firmly believe in the pivotal role that mental health support plays in nurturing the healing journey, and we are wholly committed to contributing to this place of solace, recovery and strength at the Buffalo United Resiliency Center.”
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand and Congressman Higgins for their leadership and dedication to our city. This funding will help provide needed support to those who are struggling with the trauma inflicted by the racially motivated mass shooting on May 14, 2022. As we continue to heal as a city and as a region, we must remember to make mental health a major priority in the healing process.”
The Community Health Center of Buffalo (CHCB), a federally qualified health center, is the primary grant awardee along with partner and subgrantee BestSelf Behavioral Health. CHCB and BestSelf are partners in the Buffalo United Resiliency Center, a nonprofit organization created to serve individuals and families impacted following the May 14 tragedy. The Buffalo United Resiliency Center will be located at 1001 E. Delavan Ave., Buffalo, to serve as a centralized place for victims to have their needs identified and be connected to resources and support.
A press release stated, “Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins have worked relentlessly to deliver federal funding to strengthen the support and resources to help Buffalo recover and build a more equitable future. This includes both a $4 million federal grant to enhance access to mental health services and $1.4 million in federal funding to support mental health programs on Buffalo’s east side. This past February, the lawmakers also secured $55 million for the transformation of Buffalo’s Kensington Expressway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act’s Reconnecting Communities Program. This is in addition to $25 million in federal funding through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge to expand job training and manufacturing careers in East Buffalo and Western New York.”
The AEAP is a federal program designed to supplement the available resources and services of entities responding to acts of terrorism or mass violence to assist victims and communities recover. More details on the program can be found here.