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AmeriCorps VISTAs to begin serving in Buffalo

Chris Caya WBFO News

Buffalo is once again living up to its reputation as the City of Good Neighbors. Nearly 500 residents were enrolled in national service last year and the city has been awarded federal funding for a new AmeriCorps program.  

During a brief ceremony in the Mayor's Office Thursday, AmeriCorps VISTA National Director Max Finberg announced that Buffalo will receive $900,000 grant to host 13 VISTA members for the next three years. Finberg says VISTA is the domestic Peace Corps.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
AmeriCorps VISTA National Director Max Finberg

"We have a 51-year track record as the volunteers in service to America," Finberg said. "As one of the programs of the War on Poverty we have shown a track-record of assisting individuals get of poverty, boosting communities, and providing opportunities for those who serve."
According to Mayor Byron Brown, being selected for the program is a major deal. The city pegs the value of the VISTA members service at about $2.8 million. Brown says there is no cost for taxpayers.    

"Some will be based here in City Hall. Some will be out working with agencies and organizations elsewhere. But we will all be working together to build capacity in the areas of poverty reduction, economic development and job creation," Brown said.
Finberg says on a per capita basis, Buffalo ranks fifth in the nation among large cities for producing the most AmeriCorps volunteers.