BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A housing facility aimed at addressing the community’s homelessness crisis will soon open in South Buffalo. 

OLV Human Services is teaming up with Peaceprints of Western New York to open a Roots residence, a temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“The goal is for them to be there short-term, 6 to 9 months so that they can get stabilized, get on their feet, and then move on with their lives,” said OLV Human Services CEO Cindy Lee.

The residence will be on Saint John’s place in South Buffalo and adjacent to an Early Children’s program.

“Tt’s not about the program. It’s not about the individuals, it’s about the proximity to the most vulnerable people in our community, which are our children,” said Colleen, whose 4 year-old son attends the daycare next to where the facility will be. “We have to protect them [children] we have to make sure things are safe and I think regardless of what anybody says that is a risk, there is a risk there and that’s not a risk as a parent I’m willing to take.”

The short-term housing facility could house around 20 men aged 18 or older. Some of the men may have committed a misdemeanor. The organizations say none of the residents will have a history of assault, sexual or otherwise, against minors. 

“My main concern is my son’s safety,” Colleen told News 4. “I feel like it’s a risk to put individuals who have been convicted of crimes right next to a preschool.”

Officials say this location was chosen because it’s close to public transportation and there’s a need for this service in the area.

“This is a very real community need that needs to be met and we are well positioned to do it,” Lee said. “We’re happy to provide a safe secure housing facility for these individuals and we are proud to work with Peaceprints to be able to deliver the services they need so they can move on to the next chapter of their lives.”

“Safety is of the utmost importance, not just for the surrounding community but for the team that’s working inside the facility,” said Peaceprints of WNY CEO Cindi McEachon. “We will be screening every applicant that comes in. We will be looking to see what their story is, what’s their narrative, and whether or not it’s an appropriate placement in this particular program.”

 Peaceprints of WNY operates three other residential facilities in Buffalo and says there have been no incidents at any of those locations. 

“We have a team of really dedicated staff that will be working in the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” McEachon said.

“We would have never moved forward with this if I thought there was a significant potential of risk,” Lee said. “I’m responsible for every child and every teacher that is in that school adjacent to the housing and I take that responsibility very seriously.”

The facility could open as early as next month. 

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.