New federal funding will help fight homelessness in Erie County

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County is receiving more than $1 million in federal funding from the CARES Act to combat homelessness and potential homelessness.

The county’s Department of Environment and Planning announced on Tuesday that Homeless Assistance Services will utilize $1.5 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding toward rapid re-housing, homeless prevention and shelter expenses.

This includes getting people out of shelters and into permanent housing, as well as helping people with rent payments.

The funds will also help keep people from needing to move into emergency shelters in the first place.

For the shelters themselves, the funding will assist with things like repairs, security, fuel, food, insurance, equipment and more.

Non-profit agencies, such as the Homeless Alliance of WNY, will benefit from the funds.

“In these difficult times the County has stepped up to provide needed shelter for the most vulnerable people which is a national best practice model that resulted in very few homeless people contracting the COVID virus,” Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, said. “These funds will now allow us to house people and prevent their homelessness.

Another $100,000 will be given to Housing Counseling Services.

Food pantries will also benefit from the newly announced federal funding.

$320,000 will go toward 21 different local food pantries to help them get equipment and food through FeedMore WNY.

• Operation Good Neighbor (Angola)

• Bread of life Outreach (Colden)

• St. Martha’s Pantry (Depew)

• Tri-Community Food Pantry (Depew)

• Fish of East Aurora, Inc. (East Aurora)

• Gowanda Love, Inc. (Gowanda)

• Catholic Charities- Lackawanna Pantry (Lackawanna)

• O.L.V. St. Vincent DePaul Society (Lackawanna)

• S.B.C. Foundation (Lackawanna)

• Trinity Pantry (Lancaster)

• Eden-North Collins Food Pantry (North Collins)

• Operation Good Neighbor Pantry (North Evans)

• Tabernacle Food Pantry (Orchard Park)

• Southern Tier Food Pantry & Trading Post (Springville)

• Springville-Concord Food Pantry (Springville)

• Salvation Army (City of Tonawanda)

• St. Vincent DePaul St. Francis of Assisi (City of Tonawanda)

• 14 Holy Helpers Sharing Committee (West Seneca)

• West Seneca Community Food Pantry (West Seneca)

• Vietnam Veterans of America (City of Tonawanda)

• Alden-Marilla Food Pantry (Alden-Marilla)

“While hunger always has been prevalent in Western New York, the pandemic has dramatically increased the need for food assistance in the community. In fact, 150,500 Erie County residents may be struggling with hunger this year due to the COVID-19 health crisis,” Tara A. Ellis, president and CEO of FeedMore WNY, said. “The generous funding through the CARES Act will allow FeedMore WNY to support our partner pantries with much needed food and equipment as they open their doors to our neighbors in need. We also are grateful for the CARES Act funding for our Meals on Wheels program, which will enable us to provide more nourishing meals to the 3,500 homebound Erie County residents who rely on this critical service.”

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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