Request for Proposals: Bus Transportation Services

The Matt Urban Center operates several after school programs in the City of Buffalo. We are seeking a qualified contractor to assist in bus transportation services from the program location (385 Paderewski Dr.) to each individual student’s home.

Please click here to view the full Request for Proposals.

Proposals will be accepted until Friday, March 19th at 3:30 P.M.

Via U.S. Mail or delivery to:
Will Smith, Security
Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY
1081 Broadway
Buffalo, NY 14212

Questions on this request for qualifications may be directed to ztenhuisen@urbanctr.org or to (716) 893 – 7222 ext: 219.

Remembering Earl Blacksheare

The Matt Urban Center suffered a tremendous loss with the recent passing of Mr. Earl Blacksheare.
Earl was the heart and soul of our Hope Center, where he worked for over a decade, performing intake with clients and making referrals to get them connected with the resources they needed. Earl’s big booming voice was the first people heard when they called the Hope Center, and his was the first face they saw when they came in for services. Earl was a bright light for many, helping guide them to the programs and services that they needed to improve their situations, whether it was assistance finding housing, benefits, or a hot meal.
Not only did Earl have a tremendous positive impact on those who came to the Hope Center for help – he also made a lasting impression on the people he worked with every day. Some of our staff shared their remembrances of Earl, in honor of his memory and their time spent working alongside him.
Earl was part of our family. Although you don’t come to work to gain friends, you kind of become family and learn to depend on them for a lot of different things. Earl left a blueprint for us and how we should treat people. We’re just going to miss him.
-Kevin Glover
Every day for the last 4 and a half plus years, I’ve walked past Earl at his desk. We always had a very similar exchange when he first got to work for the day.
“Hey Earl, how’s it going?”
“I’m just groovy man, just groovy.”
“Groovy!”
I’ve missed that exchange every single day since he’s been gone. I remind myself every time I walk past his desk that Earl is “just groovy man, just groovy.”
Earl always knew it was me walking by because he always said I was running through the Hope Center, and that I moved too fast and didn’t know how to slow down. But if I was wearing a different pair of shoes compared to normal, he would stop me and ask me what I had on my feet. He was used to me wearing sneakers and being fairly quiet when I walked past him, but when winter crept in and I switched to boots, I had a whole new sound. He’d ask me to describe what I had on my feet to him so that way he could associate that sound with me coming up the hallway in my boots.  
-Skylar Diamond
Earl always said “Good morning Melly Mel” and this was when I was walking into the building from behind him. I always wondered how he knew it was me before I even spoke to him or said anything. He will be greatly missed at Polonia Hall.
-Patricia Chism-Melvin
I didn’t work directly with Earl every day, and most of my interaction was over the phone, but even with calls that had no easy answer he was up for the challenge and ready to assist in any way. We’d often hang up with no real solution, only for my phone to ring a few minutes later with a bit more information that would point me in the right direction. You could hear his smile through every call.
-Maya Shermer
Earl was such a kind, sincere person, and that came out in every interaction I had with him – from those phone calls where he would reach out seeking information for a client, but always made sure to take a few moments to find out how I was doing, or when I would say farewell on my way out of the Hope Center and he would say “alright Sarah, you take care and be safe out there.” The Hope Center and the Matt Urban Center as a whole was made a better place because of Earl’s presence.
-Sarah Maurer

MUC Seeks Bids for Unarmed Security at 19 Doat Street

The Matt Urban Center will begin providing case management services at 19 Doat Street, Buffalo, NY, 14211 in May of 2021. The Matt Urban Center seeks the services of a qualified contractor to assist in unarmed security personnel services at this site.

The full Request for Proposals can be viewed here: RFP Unarmed Security – Crossroads at Genesee 2021

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Friday, February 26 at 3:30 p.m. All bids must be submitted via U.S. Mail or delivery to:

Andrew Linneman, Purchasing Agent
Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY
1081 Broadway
Buffalo, NY 14212

Questions on this request for qualifications may be directed to purchasing@urbanctr.org or (716) 893 – 7222 ext: 227.

BURA Launches “STAND UP Buffalo” Initiative

Mayor Byron W. Brown recently announced the launch of the Small Business, Tenants, And Neighborhood Development Underwriting Program or “STAND UP Buffalo” Initiative. The initiative is comprised of a series of direct assistance grants and programs that will allow residents and business owners to respond to the unique challenges the global Coronavirus Pandemic has caused in Buffalo and cities across the nation.

The Matt Urban Center is proud to be one of the community agencies that are partnering with the City to deliver critical services to City residents and small businesses. Other collaborating agencies include:

2-1-1 WNY
Restoration Society
Belmont Housing Resources
Center for Elder Law and Justice
Catholic Charities
Buffalo Urban League
Old First Ward Community Association
Heart of the City Neighborhoods
University District Community Development Association
Housing Opportunities Made Equal
Neighborhood Legal Services
Westminster Economic Development Initiative

“The Matt Urban Center provides a wide range of services to the East Side of Buffalo including, home repairs and weatherization, affordable housing development, multiple programs aimed at addressing homelessness as well as robust programs for youth and seniors,” said Ben Hilligas, Executive Director. Our mission is to provide programs that revitalize neighborhoods, serve families, and change lives. When I hear ‘STAND UP Buffalo’ I immediately think of the strength and resilience of our community and the solidarity we demonstrate and represent as citizens of the City of Buffalo. We thank the Mayor for his commitment to fair and equal housing in the City of Buffalo.”

Read the full press release with more information about the STAND UP Buffalo Initiative by clicking here.

Afterschool Programming Returns to Polonia Hall

We’re excited that in-person afterschool programming will return to our Polonia Hall site at 385 Paderewski Drive, beginning March 1, 2021. We will be following COVID-19 guidelines and limiting the number of participants in the program for safety reasons.

To fill out an application to participate in the afterschool program, click here.

Please contact Justin Larke at jlarke@urbanctr.org or at (716) 893-7222 x311 for more information.

MUC Seeking Bids for Pest Control Services

The Matt Urban Center is currently seeking the services of a qualified contractor to assist in pest control services at our administrative and rental properties.

The full Request for Proposals can be viewed here: RFP Pest Control – All MUC Properties – Feb 2021

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Friday, February 19 at 3:30 p.m. All bids must be submitted via U.S. Mail or delivery to:

Andrew Linneman, Purchasing Agent
Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY
1081 Broadway
Buffalo, NY 14212

Questions on this request for qualifications may be directed to purchasing@urbanctr.org or (716) 893 – 7222 ext: 227.

Donor Spotlight: The Sengupta Family

This month we’re highlighting The Sengupta Family – Sourav, Elizabeth, and their two daughters. After touring our Hope Center facility and learning about what we do last year, the family made a very generous personal donation to our Homeless Outreach team, including monies that their daughters had saved up in their piggy bank. Coupled with their donation from last year, the Sengupta Family has provided over $24,500 to support our efforts to meet our homeless clients where they’re at and provide support and resources to keep them safe.
Our Homeless Outreach team is excited to be able to purchase some specialized supplies that they don’t have consistent access to, such as larger sizes of clothing for clients, boots and shoes, storage for donations, and transportation passes.
A tremendous thank you to the Sengupta Family for their generosity and compassion for the clients we serve!

Volunteer at Home: Welcome Packages

The Matt Urban Center recently began leasing our Hope House apartments in the former Buffalo Public School #57 on Sears Street, which are supportive housing opportunities provided in partnership with BestSelf Behavioral Health. The tenants moving in have been homeless and many are arriving with nothing more than a few bags. More often than not, they do not have the basic items that one would use to set up a new home.
Those looking for an in-kind donation/volunteer at home opportunity can help our new tenants by assembling welcome packages to give them a head start in turning their apartments into an inviting home! See below for a list of items that our tenants need:
  • Shower curtain
  • Dish sponges
  • Wastebasket
  • Trash bags
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Full-sized sheet set
  • Laundry basket or hamper
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Dinnerware set
  • Silverware
Volunteers are free to choose which items they’ll include in their package (and add your own ideas if you’d like). Donations of any size and quantity are greatly appreciated and will help make our tenants feel more at home.
To donate a Welcome Package for a Hope House tenant or to get more information, contact Sarah Maurer, Development Director, at (716) 893-7222 x232 or smaurer@urbanctr.org.

MUC Housing Department Expands Reach

Our Housing & Community Development Department is excited to announce being awarded the 2020 Community Partnership Initiative through Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. This year will mark over 20 years that we have been serving the East Side of Buffalo with home repair assistance and other programming through this contract, and is an exciting time with the expansion of our service area to include many additional East Side neighborhoods. We look forward to continuing our partnership with BURA. For more information call 716-893-7222 x213.

To find out if the Matt Urban Center is the community based organization that serves your neighborhood, click here and submit your property address.

 

First Round of Renovations at 104 Lewis Street is Complete!

Phase one of construction on tenant units at our T.J. Wojnar Parkview Apartments is complete! Our first round of tenants are excited to be living in their newly renovated apartments.
COVID-19 has impacted everyone in many ways, and in this case it meant several delays in a major rehabilitation project for the building, with teams on every end working reduced hours, shipping and inventory delays, and smaller crews. Savarino Companies has kept to the task and ensured a smooth process along the way, coordinating with our Property Manager, Debbie Skulski-Wakelam, and Lincoln Moving and Storage of Buffalo to move residents into their new homes. Thank you to all of our partners on this project, including New York State Homes & Community Renewal and LISC WNY.
Construction completion is still on track for summer 2021 and additional units may be available at that time. For additional information on this 32-unit apartment building or to apply to our waitlist, visit our website or call 716-893-7222 x222.