Welcoming our Acting Executive Director

Over the past few months, all of us at the Matt Urban Center have had to address a wide variety of issues, whether it’s finding new ways to best serve our communities in the face of COVID-19, ensuring our team members and the people we serve are safe and healthy, or supporting one another and our families through trying times.
Tough times call for tough leaders. That’s why the Matt Urban Center’s board is pleased to announce that Alissa Venturini has been named as Acting Executive Director of the Matt Urban Center. Alissa replaces Marlies Wesolowski, who passionately led this agency since 2001.
Alissa has worked for the Matt Urban Center in multiple roles for 19 years. She has served as Director of Community Services for the past 11 years, overseeing our numerous and vital programs supporting the most vulnerable among us, including youths and families, seniors, crime victims, and the hungry. Her commitment to our agency and our communities has been steadfast and unwavering. Alissa can be reached at aventurini@urbanctr.org or call (716) 893-7222 Ext. 226.
In addition, the Board of Directors will be embarking on an extensive search for a permanent Executive Director. Our agency needs a new leader with innovative ideas to not only serve our constituents, but guide the Matt Urban Center in the years to come.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns, or know of a potential candidate for the Executive Director position, please feel free to contact Chairperson Marcia Pacciotti at BOD@urbanctr.org

Donations Spotlight

We’re grateful to have received several generous donations over the last few months to help our clients during the COVID pandemic.

We want to give a shout-out to those who donated to our Veteran’s Drive for our tenants at HELP Buffalo: Our Lovejoy District Councilman Bryan Bollman’s office donated 500 PPE masks to our vets to keep them safe and healthy. Pam Ware and Leah Burr, employees at Amazon’s BUF 9 site in Lancaster, donated clothing, puzzles and books to help our vets stay occupied.

A huge thank you to Stephanie Frary of Buffalo’s Red Party for donating over 1200 tampons and pads to our Hope Services clients. Red Party works to help provide sanitary products to those who cannot afford them, to help them remain healthy, sanitary, and maintain their dignity.

Our friends at Bocce Club Pizza were kind enough to donate a huge lunch to our staff to celebrate them for continuing to provide essential services during COVID-19. Thank you, Bocce, for recognizing our staff’s perseverance during these unusual times!

Updated COVID-19 Procedures

As our region continues its broader re-opening process, several of our sites and programs have updated their procedures for building entry, client appointments, and general inquiries. Please see below for detailed information by program, to ensure you are following our current safety guidelines and know what to expect when visiting or submitting inquiries to our sites.

Main Headquarters:  1081 Broadway

Our main headquarters has revised COVID-19 procedures that can be viewed HERE. Please reference this document before entering our facility. See below for more specifics regarding individual program updates:

Housing & Community Development – Our housing department continues to serve residents with all programs, however, all walk-in clients and in-person appointments are on hold until further notice. Residents applying for home repair can continue through the application process via phone, email and mail. We also continue to accept wait list applications for our apartment buildings and serve receivership tenants via phone and email. Tenants may still drop off rent payments at the dropbox in the lobby at 1081 Broadway the Main Headquarter procedures referenced above.  Please call x214 for more information.

Senior Services – Our Senior Services staff continue to provide case management via phone. We will begin seeing clients for in-person service at 1081 Broadway by appointment only. Please call our senior services department at x207 for more information.

Weatherization – Our Weatherization staff are returning to work at properties in the community under safe procedures. New and existing clients seeking information or completing an application can do so via phone with our program director by calling x218.

Hope House Shelter: 586 Genesee Street
Our Hope House shelter is still accepting referrals, but our capacity is currently at 50% to maintain a safe distance between residents. We will accept referrals as families depart through the Department of Social Services and 2-1-1. All questions regarding the shelter can be directed to our Hope Services director at (917) 717-1400.

Matt Urban Hope Center: 385 Paderewski Drive
Our Hope Center is still closed to the public at this time. Our Hope Center staff anticipate a partial re-opening for food pantry and personal essentials pantry with a tentative start date of July 21. Please continue checking our website and social media for updates on the Hope Center’s re-opening status and procedures. Please call x310 with questions.

Hope Services 2 – Permanent Supportive Housing: Housing First, Hope Gardens – 58 Oberlin Avenue, HELP Buffalo – I 368 Broadway & II 384 Broadway

Upon entry at Hope Gardens and HELP Buffalo I&II, all staff, service providers and any and all visitors are required to wear a mask, thoroughly sanitize their hands, and have their temperature taken and recorded in a daily log. At this time, both locations are not allowing unauthorized visitors. We have designated areas for deliveries.

The staff at HELP Buffalo I&II and Hope Gardens are currently providing case management with face-to-face visits in our larger open spaces, like conference rooms, where they can ensure 6 ft. distance from one another. Clients and staff are required to wear masks and carefully disinfect the entire area between these visits. Additionally, for Hope Gardens, all common areas remain closed until further notice and our door-to-door, take out style breakfast and dinner service will continue.

Our Housing First Program (scattered site) Case Managers are conducting socially distanced outdoor visits for clients with desperate needs, emergency situations, health concerns, landlord issues, and overall amplified behavioral difficulties.

Lastly, all of the Permanent Supportive Housing Programs are prepared and are hoping to accept new referrals in the fall. Please call (716)893-7222 x530 or x536 for further information on Permanent Supportive Housing programs.

Youth & Community Services: 129 Lewis Street & 385 Paderewski Drive
These locations are not open to the public at this time. Our Youth Summer Camp program will be opening for registered participants on July 6 under safe procedures. Please click HERE for more information about summer camp hours and registration.

Our youth locations will be participating in the BPS Summer Lunch program as pick-up sites. Lunches will be available for pick-up from 12pm- 1pm Monday- Friday, for children ages 18 and under. Lunch cannot be eaten on site – it must be taken home. One lunch per child will be given and children must be present in order to receive the lunch.

Our food pantry at the T.J. Dulski Center (129 Lewis St.) will continue to serve clients outside in the rear of the building. The food pantry is open Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please keep an eye on our website for any updates to our procedures.

Employment Opportunity: Housing First Case Manager

Now Hiring: Housing First Case Manager (Two Openings Available)

Job Description: The Housing First case managers will provide support to homeless clients by evaluating their social history, number of past hospitalizations, treatment histories for mental illness and chemical addictions, homeless history and homeless preferences, a detailed housing history, and independent living skills. The case managers will work with clients to create an Independent Services Plan and work toward attaining their goals.  Staff must understand the Housing First model with inclusion of the definition of chronically homeless and how to document/verify.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Kadie Skulski, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing, at kskulski@urbanctr.org.

Employment Opportunity: Hope Gardens Program Supervisor

Now Hiring: Hope Gardens Program Supervisor

Job Description: The Program Supervisor will oversee a staff of case managers and community health workers, in addition to carrying a case load of clients. They will coordinate services and activities working directly with service providers, and engage with and educate local employers about our Job Skills Development Program. 

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Kadie Skulski, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing, at kskulski@urbanctr.org.

Employment Opportunity: HELP Buffalo Case Manager

Now Hiring: HELP Buffalo Case Manager

Job Description: The Case Manger at HELP Buffalo will provide support to our formerly homeless and veteran tenants by evaluating their social history, number of past hospitalizations, treatment histories for mental illness and chemical addictions, homeless history and homeless preferences, a detailed housing history, and independent living skills. The case manager will work with clients to create an Independent Services Plan and work toward attaining their goals.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Kadie Skulski, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing, at kskulski@urbanctr.org.

Employment Opportunity: Community Health Worker

Now Hiring: Community Health Worker

Job Description: The Community Health Worker has the responsibility to cover all duties on the floor while building trusting relationships with clients. CHW’s are responsible for eliminating barriers and advocating for additional supports along the way. The effectiveness of CHWs lies in their ability to gain access to hard-to-reach individuals and to patiently coach and support them as they work towards housing stability.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Christal Guthrie, Director of Homeless Services, at cguthrie@urbanctr.org.

Employment Opportunity: Shelter Receptionist

Now Hiring: Shelter Receptionist

Job Description: The Matt Urban Center’s Hope House shelter for women & children is seeking a full time receptionist to manage visitors to the shelter, phone inquiries, and other duties as needed. This employee must respect and maintain residents’ rights and confidentiality, and will demonstrate a caring positive attitude toward all residents, staff, guests and services.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Christal Guthrie, Director of Homeless Services, at cguthrie@urbanctr.org.

Summer Camp Applications Now Available!

Summer Camp Alert! The Matt Urban Center’s Youth Department is now accepting applications for our Summer Camp! Our summer camp can help ensure your children stay on track academically, socially and emotionally by providing much needed resources! Social Emotional Coordinators and Certified Teachers are on staff with programming ready!

Applications are available online (due to questions required and formatting, cannot be completed with a cell phone) or stop by one of the locations below to pick up  to pick up an application. We look forward to seeing you!

129 Lewis Street between 8:00 am -4:00 pm, ring bell for service
– 1081 Broadway: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm, available in front lobby

Now Accepting Applications for Essential Workers Summer Camp!

Are you an essential worker? Do you have children? If so, we may be able to help!

The Matt Urban Center’s Youth Program is proud to support our fellow Essential Workers and present our Essential Workers Summer Camp! Parents who are Essential Workers can choose from one of two camps that are available. We have enlisted some of the best teachers from the BPS district to help us provide high quality academic programming in each camp. As an added bonus, we have beefed up our enrichment activities! Your child will have tons of fun participating in our art, cooking, physical and STEM activities this summer.

We are currently accepting applications to both camps on a first come, first served basis, until filled or before the following deadlines: Camp I – Wednesday, July 1, 2020; Camp II – Wednesday, July 20, 2020

For more information, email Danyel Sease or Justin Larke or call (716)  893-7222 x401. We hope to see you soon!