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 Managers

Now Hiring: Housing First Case Managers

Job Description: The Housing First Case Manager will be tasked with assisting homeless clients in securing safe housing, performing thorough assessments of client’s history, and providing linkages to medical and community supports.  

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

Permanent Supportive Housing Hosts Music and Mocktails Party

Our permanent supportive housing team recently created a positive social hour for their clients called “Music and Mocktails.” The event featured live music by local singer and musician Brian Beaudry, who is a member of several local bands including “Nerds Gone Wild.” Brian performs live music sets for nursing homes and residential sites all over Western New York.

Our clients from Housing First, Hope Gardens and HELP Buffalo attended the first Music and Mocktails event on December 4, 2019. They enjoyed appetizers, “mock tails”, and lots of singing and dancing. We’re looking forward to hosting more of these social events in the near future!

Employment Opportunity: Housing First Case Manager

Now Hiring: Housing First Case Manager

Job Description: The Housing First Case Manager will perform street outreach to engage with the chronically homeless to screen for program. They will perform thorough assessments of all clients including social history, number of past hospitalizations, treatment histories for mental illness and chemical addictions), homeless history and homeless preferences (where did they live, what services did they utilize while homeless), and a detailed housing history.

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

Employment Opportunity: Housing First Case Manager

Now Hiring: Housing First Case Manager

Job Description: The Housing First Case Manager will perform street outreach to engage with the chronically homeless to screen for program. They will perform thorough assessments of all clients including social history, number of past hospitalizations, treatment histories for mental illness and chemical addictions), homeless history and homeless preferences (where did they live, what services did they utilize while homeless), and a detailed housing history.

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

Our Housing First clients are making moves!

Matt Urban Center’s Housing First team helps chronically homeless individuals find a safe place to live by working to place them in local scattered site apartments and hooking them up with intensive case management to provide some stability.

With nearly 70 units of housing to fill and many clients to help, that means a lot of moves are happening on a monthly basis for this crew.

“We used to have to pay ABC movers and we were paying anywhere from $300 to $500 to get them to move clients’ belongings,” Lisa said. “Whether it was a new client, an old client moving from one apartment to another, picking up furniture from St. Vincent’s – we had to use them.”

This past summer, the team purchased a box truck and our Housing First Supervisor, Lisa Gentzler, had an idea. Now that we had the means to relocate our client’s belongings to their new apartments, why not turn this into an employment opportunity for them, too?

So Lisa created a moving team for Housing First, by Housing First. “To source the employees, I decided I’m going to use my own clients,” she said. “We’ve been in operation for about a month and a half and I can’t say enough how successful it has been.”

She started out with one client – Rashad – who is currently unemployed and living on social security income due to issues related to his schizophrenia. Lisa was able to get him work moving clients two to three times per week.

“It helps with his boredom,” she said. “He is a former crack addict. After working with him for some time, he got clean and has been for over a year. It’s nice for him to be able to supplement his income. We put him to work as much as possible.”

What came out of a necessity to stop paying exorbitant fees to moving companies created opportunity for our clients and a better process for serving them. With the Housing First team handling its own moves, they’re now able to get a client moved in less than three hours.

Not only does it help the clients who need to be moved, but it also helps Lisa to do her job as their case manager. “This gives me more time to spend with clients and get to know them better. And it gives my case managers more time with their clients, too.”

 Knowing how badly many of the apartments needed cleaning in between moves, Lisa added cleaning to the jobs list. Her team is tough, tackling some pretty heaving cleaning jobs and moving heavy furniture, too.  

“I’m so proud of these guys,” she said. “Some of these jobs are really hard. You’re talking about moving refrigerators and stoves into 2nd or 3rd floor apartments. People are floored by the fact that they come in and don’t complain – they just get the job done and go home.”

Lisa now has four clients on her team who are earning their own paycheck, and helping the program succeed, too. One client who battles with alcoholism was typically spending his days drinking in the park. Now he has meaningful work that keeps him busy.  

“It gives them that feeling that ‘I’m really doing something for myself.’ It keeps them from doing bad things, sure, but it also gives them that freedom that comes with having a job,” Lisa said. “Being able to bring them their checks and see their faces light up is amazing.”