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Buffalo City Mission getting new facility, focusing on preventative care

Nick Lippa

It’s been 33 years since Mayor Jimmy Griffin helped raise over $2 million to build a new facility for the Buffalo City Mission. Now, it’s getting a big upgrade.

Construction for a four-story $15 million-dollar building will start next month on 100 East Tupper Street.

There will be four-primary spaces. It will feature…

  • Community and Preventative Services – A 9,300 square foot community space – known as “The Center” – that will feature a state-of-the-art medical clinic, mental health services, partner agency service access, case management, food and clothing pantry, and meals served 365 days a year.
  • Emergency Shelter – Expanding beyond the City Mission’s current space, this area is designed to significantly improve guests’ health and safety.
  • Transitional Housing – Built on the City Mission’s DREAM Program – an initiative to prevent homelessness through individual empowerment – this area will include 52 independent units, a chapel, educational classrooms, and a computer lab – all designed to empower self-sufficiency for all guests.
  • Recuperative Care Unit – A facility, in collaboration with health care partners, to provide care for the physically and mentally ill following a discharge from a hospital. The unit will also include a community health care clinic.

“It’s going to provide preventative services to the whole entire community,” said Buffalo City Mission Associate Executive Director Aubrey Calhoun. “A medical clinic right on site through Jericho Road whose going to be managing this clinic for us. So we’ll be able to have community all over from the north, east, south… come here to receive services.”
Calhoun said it will become the “one-stop shop community center” here in Western New York. The current facility won’t be demolished until the new building is complete sometime in 2020.

“The one thing that’s great about this project is we’re able to keep and house all of our homeless guests and residents in the current site so we don’t have to relocate,” she said, “which saves the mission thousands and thousands of dollars. Also, it helps the community as well to not have to be relocated and have difficulties having to navigate through those channels.”

Calhoun said a parking lot will go in where the current building is after construction is complete.

“I always laugh and say (the old) building didn’t have a woman on the design team because it’s designed more (like) an institutional size building,” Calhoun said. “Now we are going to be able to change that. When people walk in to the new community center, it will be full of bright hope and help. They will be able to see the hope the minute they walk through the door.”

Senior Pastor at True Bethel Baptist Church Senior Pastor Darius Pridgen believes the center will serve as an example to other communities.

“When other cities see what Buffalo and Western New York have done and they haven’t kicked out their homeless, they haven’t kicked out those who are struggling, they haven’t said we don’t want you as a part of our growth…your arms help us. Reach out before they are homeless,” said Pridgen.

So far, $11 of the $15 million has been raised for funding through the City Mission’s Next Century Capital Campaign. They plan to raise the remaining money needed over the next 12 months.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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