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With Appeal 2021 winding down, Catholic Charities today provided a first look at its newly renovated Central Intake office located at 525 Washington St., at the corner of East Huron Street in downtown Buffalo in order to demonstrate how donors’ dollars provide hope for neighbors in need of emergency assistance. The three-month remodel is nearly complete and will be welcoming both in-person and walk-in appointments later this summer.

Catholic Charities’ Central Intake handles emergency assistance with basic needs such as financial, food, utilities, personal care, clothing and household items and prescriptions. Clients are also assessed by the intake staff and given referrals for any appropriate additional services or resources, such as counseling, education, job training or preventive services.

In 2020, Catholic Charities’ Central Intake office served approximately 5,000 clients.

“Clients who typically seek our Central Intake services are at a very challenging time in their life and we want them to feel invited into a safe space, and one that is less institutional looking in appearance,” said Deacon Steve Schumer, president and CEO, Catholic Charities. “This facility hadn’t been updated in decades and the renovation is an example of our donors’ dollars at work. Funds raised during our annual Appeal make our Central Intake services possible. Thanks to the ongoing support of our community and a grant from The John R. Oishei

Foundation, we are not only providing hope for our neighbors in need with these emergency services but are now able to offer them in a welcoming and supportive space.”

Catholic Charities has been providing a convenient location for those in need of intake services at its Washington Street office since 1951. The John R. Oishei Foundation regularly supports emergency basic assistance, and Catholic Charities was the recipient of an additional grant in support of the renovation of its Central Intake office. The remainder of the project was funded through money raised during past Appeals.

The new Central Intake layout allows for increased attention to both health and safety. Clients will now receive an assessment at one of three semi-private windows with a Central Intake employee. Assistance may be immediately provided there, but if other help requires a more private conversation, the client will be invited to the social worker’s office within the reconfigured area.

“Even as we shifted from in-person appointments and walk-ins to nearly all telephone assistance during the pandemic, this renovation is focused on post-pandemic, anticipating future community and client need,” said Kristin Rivera, Central Intake supervisor, Catholic Charities. “As pandemic restrictions start to loosen, including supplement unemployment assistance, rent forgiveness, and added money through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), we anticipate that in the months ahead the number of people needing help will increase. This renovation will help us to provide services more efficiently, in a calm and comfortable space with an increased focus on privacy and support for our clients.”

In addition to Central Intake, other services provided at Catholic Charities’ Washington Street location include rehousing programs, domestic violence offenders program and care coordination services.

The annual Appeal helps fund 57 programs and services administered by Catholic Charitie, including the Central Intake facility on Washington Street, across Western New York, along with several ministries that benefit all parishes through the Diocese of Buffalo’s Fund for the Faith. Last year, Catholic Charities’ programs and services helped more than 149,000 individuals of all faiths, ages, and ethnicities. Appeal 2021 runs through June 30.