Catholic Charities today announced the East Hill Foundation has awarded the organization $14,995 in support of its South Buffalo Promise Zone Neighborhood Closing the Gap Program and its Rapid Re-Housing program. Most of the award will be used to build a school community needs closet to best meet students’ basic clothing and hygiene needs within four South Buffalo Public Schools. In addition, $600 of the total grant will be used to purchase pillows for previously homeless individuals achieving housing stability.
The South Buffalo Promise Zone Neighborhood Closing the Gap site facilitator program was established in 2011 as a community of four South Buffalo schools in partnership with Catholic Charities and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County to support the improvement of academic success of students in Buffalo Public Schools by addressing non-academic barriers to learning. Site facilitators support and connect students with a variety of resources, including clothing, food, tutoring and mentoring, mental health services, after school and summer programming, and grief and loss counseling.
The program is currently offered in the following Buffalo Public Schools: BPS #67 Discovery School, BPS #72 Lorraine Elementary, BPS #93 Southside Elementary, and BPS #206 South Park High School. Catholic Charities supported more than 3,200 students last year through the program, which is supported by the Erie County Department of Mental Health.
“Thank you to the East Hill Foundation for recognizing the basic needs so many within our community are often forced to go without,” said Julie Lulek, School Based Services Director, Catholic Charities. “Providing a basic needs closet with clothing and personal care items will address some challenges South Buffalo families we work with face day after day. And through our re-housing program we want to ensure individuals who were previously homeless own a pillow to lay their head on in their new home.”
Catholic Charities’ Rapid Re-Housing program is designed to assist homeless individuals and families who are either living on the streets or are currently staying at local shelters. The purpose of the program, supported by the City of Buffalo, is to help families and individuals quickly exit homelessness, and to help them achieve long-term housing stability.
Since March and the onset of the pandemic, Catholic Charities has continued to provide services to WNY individuals and families in need through many programs, including food pantries, basic emergency assistance and mental health and substance abuse counseling. Additional information about Catholic Charities’ services can be found at ccwny.org/services.
The East Hill Foundation is a privately-funded family foundation, which evolved out of a family tradition of stewardship.