Hope Gardens End-of-Summer Luau

Last week, our Permanent Supportive Housing department held their first event at Hope Gardens since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March. Staff put up bright, colorful decorations and the residents enjoyed music, games, delicious BBQ chicken (specially made by Housing First Program Supervisor, Lonnie Patterson) and yummy sides – all while properly socially distancing. Many of the residents said it was the most fun they have had in a long time and that they really needed it. As things progress positively in this pandemic, we hope to gradually hold more in-house events. All of our Permanent Supportive Housing staff had a fun time as well!

Hope Center Urban Diner Re-Opening

After a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are thrilled to announce that our Urban Diner at the Matt Urban Hope Center will be re-opening for to-go operations on Monday, September 21!
All meals will be distributed outside the front entrance of our Hope Center at 385 Paderewski Drive. A mask is required and we will have markers on the sidewalk to assist with social distancing requirements. We encourage families to send one member to pick up on behalf of their household. Distribution of the grab-and-go meals will run Monday through Friday, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. or until meals run out.
Please contact Cherise Carson, Hope Center Coordinator, at 716-893-7222 x329 for more information.

Donation Spotlight: Cricket Wireless

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Miss Joy Smith and her team from Cricket Wireless at 1105 Broadway for their incredibly generous donation of food items for our Hope Center pantry! The Cricket crew delivered a carload of groceries to our Paderewski location earlier this week. We’re so grateful to have neighboring businesses who give back to our community!

Take Our Rebranding Survey!

Our agency is in the early stages of a rebranding effort, and we want to hear some feedback from our clients, partners, donors, volunteers, and community supporters!

Please take a moment to answer our brief survey (only six questions) to help us better understand who we are to you and how you know our programs.

Access the survey by clicking here.

Welcoming our New Chief Community Development Officer

We’re excited to welcome Ryan Undercoffer to the role of Chief Community Development Officer at the Matt Urban Center!
Ryan joins the Matt Urban Center from M&T Bank, where he served as a Project Manager on a number of large-scale, enterprise-wide projects. Prior to his role at M&T, Ryan served as Finance Manager for the Niagara Falls Department of Community Development, where he worked for several years helping to manage a multi-million dollar grant portfolio made up of federal, state, local, and private funding sources. Ryan also spent several years working on legislative staffs, serving the Niagara Falls City Council and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ryan currently serves on the boards of Pinnacle Community Services and the Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife, Lauren, have two children, Joanna (3) and Evan (1). They live in Niagara Falls, NY and enjoy hiking the Niagara Gorge on the weekends. Ryan is also a long-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player and enjoys competing and helping others to learn the sport.

Employment Opportunity: Executive Director

Now Hiring: Executive Director

Job Description: The Executive Director will provide leadership and vision, articulate and promote the organization’s mission, develop sufficient resources for the financial health of the agency, and position the agency to meet the needs of clients and community.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to EDSearch@urbanctr.org by September 16, 2020.

Hope Center Food Pantry Re-Opening 8/4

We’re excited to be kicking off the month of August by re-opening our Food Pantry at the Matt Urban Hope Center!

The pantry will re-open on Tuesday, August 4 and will be open weekly on Tuesdays from 11:30AM to 3:30PM.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, pantry clients will be served outside in front of the main entrance at 385 Paderewski. Clients will be asked to provide their name, address and phone number. Bags will be pre-packed, so client choice of some items may be limited.

Please contact Cherise Carson, Hope Center Coordinator, at 716-893-7222 x329 for more information.

Employment Opportunity: Summer Term AmeriCorps Member

Now Hiring: AmeriCorps Service Member (Summer)

Job Description: The Asset Management AmeriCorps Service Member will work with housing staff to alleviate the pressure caused by COVID. Safe and affordable housing is more important than ever and the service member’s role in assisting with property management and asset management activities is essential as the Housing & Community development Department and the Matt Urban Center continue their essential work for the community.

Click the link above for full listing. Please submit cover letter and resume to Maya Shermer, Housing Director, at mshermer@urbanctr.org.

Our 2019 Annual Report

We’re excited to release our 2019 Annual Report to the Community!

Our agency closed out 2019 having served over 19,000 residents of the City of Buffalo’s East Side and surrounding towns through a variety of human service programs – whether they were homeless clients or homeowners in our neighborhoods, students in local schools or senior citizens. That number alone speaks to the tremendous impact of our agency’s diverse programs and the tireless dedication of the staff who report to work here every day. We strive every day, and every year, to fulfill the simple mission of serving individuals and families in need.

Here are just SOME of our programs’ 2019 accomplishments:

  • 62 Homes Weatherized – Saving residents money on their utility bills by making their homes energy efficient
  • 30 Homes Repaired – Helping homeowners in Fillmore and Lovejoy Districts make health safety repairs to their homes
  • 111 Homeless Clients Housed by Street Outreach – Connecting individuals living on the street with safe housing and resources to improve their quality of life
  • 834 Children Served – Supporting youth development through after-school, summer, and teen workforce programming
  • 120 Permanent Supportive Housing Placements – Helping homeless clients secure safe, long-term housing through MUC sites and our local landlord partners
  • 995 Senior Citizens Supported – Providing elderly clients with resources to help them stay in their homes and out of assisted living
  • 619 People Given Shelter – Providing homeless women and children a safe place to stay in our Hope House emergency shelter
  • 10,344 Meals Served – Offering daily hot meals at our Urban Diner in partnership with Friends of Night People

Click here to see the full report.

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