HopeGardenrenderingThe Matt Urban Center worked with Laurie Hauer-LaDuca (Architect), Savarino Companies (Construction Manager), and Janet Meiselman of Oxford Consulting, to submit grant applications and build this apartment building for homeless women in East Buffalo. This project, known as Hope Gardens, opened in December 2014 and allows us to continue assisting the homeless population in Buffalo.
Our Vision for Hope Gardens
Elliott Liebow completed a 10 year research project that was later turned into a book: “Tell-Them Who I am: The Lives of Homeless Women.” His research and book cited that chronically homeless women have unique needs that are different from chronically homeless men. While men may do well in a dormitory setting, women do very poorly in this setting, and do not respond well to institutional controls. In a study by Novac, Brown and Gallant, they reported that there is a direct relationship between homeless women and the physical and sexual abuse that homeless women have experienced in their lives. The study also revealed that women, particularly chronically homeless women, do poorly living in an environment with tight institutional controls. Instead, a home-like setting where they have their own personal space is vital to the success of a program. It was through this research and study of best practice models around program design that our concept for Hope Gardens was born.
While Liebow’s study focused on shelters, we may glean philosophical aspects when designing the program for this permanent supportive housing program. The building is a two-story structure built around a central therapeutic courtyard. Built on many City of Buffalo land parcels (58, 60, 62, 66, 68, 70, 76 Oberlin; 53, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 69, 71 Ruhland), the building is a central feature of the landscape.
The first floor houses offices, a kitchen/dining room large enough for 20 individuals, a laundry room, art studio, community living room, computer lab/library and a conference room and a small private office (for counseling clients) and five studio apartments.
The second floor has fifteen studio apartments. Like the apartments on the first floor, each apartment will have a small bedroom area, living area, small in room kitchenette and bathroom.
Hope Gardens Today