- Shower curtain
- Dish sponges
- Trash bags
- Cooking Utensils
- Full-sized sheet set
- Laundry basket or hamper
- Broom and dust pan
- Dinnerware set
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!
The Matt Urban Hope Center, located at 385 Paderewski Drive, will be assisting residents with processing their documentation to apply for Live Well Erie and City of Buffalo Cares Act Rental and Mortgage Assistance, from now through November 25.
This program will provide temporary rent and mortgage assistance to individuals who were unable to pay their rent or mortgage due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All residents must first call 2-1-1 to verify their eligibility for this program. Once deemed eligible, residents may contact our Hope Center staff to set up an appointment to submit their documentation. We cannot accept walk-in clients at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions at our facility, so an appointment is suggested to ensure timely assistance. Please call (716) 893-7222 x310 to set an appointment.
Residents must come to the appointment with all required documents. A list of required documents is available at http://www.211wny.org/resources/erie-county-covid-19-rent-relief/
Note that our Hope Center is following all New York State COVID-19 guidelines and a face mask is required in order to enter the facility.
To learn more about this program, please visit www.211wny.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.