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.

A Home for the Holidays at Hope House

In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to stay close to home, we may have taken for granted what a luxury it is to have a safe home to retreat to.

Our Matt Urban Center housing team recently handed the keys to our very first tenants at Hope House, our newly renovated apartment complex located in the former P.S. 57 building on Sears Street. Our partners at Best Self Behavioral Health helped us in securing a safe, warm, affordable home for Christina and her 10 year-old daughter, Na’zia.

Christina had been patiently waiting for those keys for a long time. The past two years have been a rough road for her as she worked to overcome substance abuse and the hardships it brought to her and Na’zia’s lives.

“I’ve always been a drinker, but then I started indulging in cocaine,” she said. “I did that for about a year and a half, and I lost everything – my job, my car, and my home.”

Christina got into a 28-day rehab program at the Stutzman Addiction Treatment Center, but when the program concluded, she knew she wasn’t ready to step out on her own yet. She made her way to Best Self’s Lighthouse Women’s Residence to continue her recovery. Upon hearing from her counselor that she was a candidate for tenancy at Hope House, she requested to extend her stay at Lighthouse while waiting for renovations to be completed. She knew there were so few options for affordable housing where she and her daughter could go and truly feel safe.

“They asked if I wanted to leave and wait, but I didn’t want to jeopardize my recovery being somewhere else, and there’s a lack of places for women to go safely with their children,” Christina said. “It was a journey being optimistic, but I believe in God and he kept telling me if you just wait, it will be so worth it. I would do it all over again. I would wait another 6 months if I had to.”

Now Christina has a bright, modernly furnished apartment with large windows and on-site laundry facilities. She’s close to the Broadway Market, the post office, and other businesses where she can run her errands. More importantly, she has access to support from the Best Self Behavioral Health staff who work in the building when she needs it. And for the first time in two years – since they lost their home – Na’zia finally has her own room and privacy again.

“I’m so grateful for this place,” Christina said. “To be able to come somewhere secure, safe, affordable, and nice on top of everything else. I was expecting the bare minimum, but it’s so beautiful and modern and innovative with the high ceilings and the light fixtures. This is my sanctuary.”

Christina and Na’zia are looking forward to decorating their new home for the holidays with Christina’s mother, and continuing to work on their DIY projects together. The enjoy spending time together making jewelry and finding new ideas from online tutorials. Christina’s also looking forward to having a quiet space to write her poetry.

“I’m really into my NA book now, I do a lot of meetings,” she said. “I like to help other women who have been through the same things that I have. I’m just looking forward to working with my peers here to sustain my sobriety and just do my part, being responsible and living life on life’s terms. I want to be able to sit with my emotions, deal with my problems as they occur, keep my daughter happy. I really just want to do my part and evolve.”

Below is a poem Christina wrote, inspired by her new home at Hope House:

Hope is home after a long day of confusion

Where your reality is yours without any illusion

Your family is safe and call this place home

Where you’ll be content even when you are alone

This place is comfortable and affordable too

Within the decisions you make, you’ll find the hidden truth

That this is the place that you can be you

Where tenants are happy and have found hope here, too!

For those who need housing assistance and want to learn more about applying for an apartment at Hope House, contact Best Self Behavioral Health at 716-449-3372.

Keep an eye on our website and Matt Urban Center social media for more stories and updates from Hope House!

Hope Center Presents Holiday Meal To-Go!

Mark your calendars for December 23! Chef Chris is whipping up another delicious, free holiday meal for the community from the Matt Urban Hope Center’s Urban Diner. All meals are grab-and-go and can be picked up at our 385 Paderewski Drive. Masks are required at pick-up.

Making Spirits Bright: Donation Spotlight

The giving season is upon us, and that couldn’t be more apparent with the overwhelming number of in-kind donations we have received. From blankets and winter clothing, to non-perishable food items and Christmas gifts for children – we are absolutely blown away by the generosity of our local community and their compassion for the families we serve. A special thank you goes out to the following in-kind donors:
Ingram Micro
Main Pediatrics
Savarino Companies
Tabernacle of Praise
Buffalo Police Department C District & NET Team
Haley Marketing Group
Elizabeth Felmet
Charlene Stalikas
Vinnita McDuffie
The Bajdas Family
Patricia Cichocki
Kevin Young
Kristin Fyda
Rebecca Bremiller
Jeffrey Scharoun
Maria Slawson
The Zulewski Family
Emma Rich
Nancy Maiarana
We’d also like to give a big shout-out to these generous individuals for making monetary donations to our Giving Tuesday campaign to support the women and children staying at our Hope House emergency shelter during the holiday season:
NYS Minorities in Criminal Justice Association
Jessica Aungst
Robert Scott DeLuca
Brandon Jones
Marcia Pacciotti
Karen Carman
Alissa Venturini
Gina Pfleegor
David Kiefer
Ellen Scheuering
Jeffrey Miller
Thomas Idziak
Thank you to our community of kind and compassionate donors! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and stay well!

Cookies for a Cause Raises $2000 for Hope House

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the 2020 Cookies for a Cause fundraiser to benefit Matt Urban Center was a tremendous success!
Since 2017, Rebecca Decker has organized a cookie exchange at the holidays with all proceeds going to support the women and children staying at our Hope House shelter. This year’s event was a cookie sale with socially distanced pick-ups to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines. Thanks to our generous supporters, the event raised over $2,000.
Since its inception, Cookies for a Cause has raised $6,500 to support Hope House. Extra special thanks go out to Rebecca Decker for all her hard work in organizing this annual event on our behalf!