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Cornerstone Receives Grant, YWCA Adult Program Closes

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Two private agencies which provide housing services for those in need made very different announcements Wednesday. One received a key grant to move forward with a construction project while the other is closings its doors.

Cornerstone Manor, Buffalo City Mission's shelter for women and children, received a $3.7 million grant from New York State for its new facility. Mission Director Tom McLaughlin says the funding will enable a ground-breaking this Spring.

"We had already raised $6 million," McLaughlin said. "This additional $3.7 million will allow us to begin construction so that we can occupy the building by Spring 2006."

The new Cornerstone Manor at North Street and Michigan Avenue will accommodate more than 120 women and children. Right now, says McLaughlin, they're forced to turn people away because of a lack of space. He said that will change once the new shelter is ready.

"This program, because it's transitional living as well as an emergency shelter, will allow women to stay for longer periods of time, dealing with the issues that brought them into a state of homelessness," McLaughlin said.

On the same day Cornerstone was celebrating its state grant, the YWCA of Western New York was announcing it is discontinuing its Adult Care Program at 245 North Street. For the past 30 years, the residence has housed both women and men who are being treated for mental illnesses. YWCA Chief Executive Officer Tanya Perrin-Johnson said it was a difficult but necessary decision.

"With resources not at a level where they need to be for us to provide these kinds of services, the decision was made for us to get out of this particular business," Perrin-Johnson said.

Perrin-Johnson says the residence will remain open until arrangements are made to find new housing for those now living there.

"We are making great strides in working with the other providers in this community to place the 62 consumers that we currently have living with us," Perrin-Johnson said.

Perrin-Johnson said the YWCA wants to focus the organization's resources on programs aligned more closely with its core mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.