BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Governor Kathy Hochul says she’s making sure resources to help people on Buffalo’s East Side are here to stay in the wake of the racist mass shooting at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue.
On Wednesday, New York State announced $2.5 million in aid for services to victims families, survivors, Tops Employees and the entire community around the Jefferson Avenue grocery store. The Buffalo Urban League and Community Health Centers of Buffalo will partner to operate the Buffalo United Resiliency Center. The funding is provided by the New York State Office of Victim Services through 2025.
The money will be used to increase staffing and ensure the center is able to serve the community.
Additionally, the money will provide several services to those families, survivors, employees, and neighbors impacted by the shooting. Things like support groups, workshops on nutrition and financial literacy, group get-togethers, and wellness programs will be offered.
Some community members say the money will be a boost to existing organizations on the East Side. Others say money isn’t enough.
“That healing process should’ve been taken care of by now. It’s time to move on to different steps,” Mark Talley, son of Geraldine Talley who was killed at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue and executive director of Agent for Advocacy, said.
Council President Darius Pridgen says he is encouraged by the Governor’s investment.
“It’s better than nothing and I think anybody would say we need more, but for what the needs are and what its going for, I think its a step in the right direction,” Pridgen added.
Talley says he wants more action to move the community forward.
“It’s just words. Once again being Black in this country you’ve been told throughout the decades and history of words, stuff is going to be done on your behalf and it never gets done,” Talley added.
“It’s not just about brick and mortar. If you rebuild houses but you don’t rebuild people, then you had a new housing stock, but you still have a broken people,” Pridgen said.
Both Talley and Pridgen say it will take action and a city wide effort to re-imagine and rebuild the East Side.
Why is the East Side of Buffalo consistently the worst in terms of educational rates, health rates, mental illnesses, STDs? And its always been like this,” Talley continued.
“It may not be going at the pace all of us want. I would love to wake up and everything is just redone. the reality of that is this is a huge mountain to climb and we all have to climb it together,” Pridgen explained.
Buffalo United Resiliency Center will open its doors next wednesday, April 5 on Jefferson Avenue.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.