Modified: July 21, 2020 11:49am

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The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning has announced that $1.5 million in Emergency Solutions Grant (“ESG”) funds from the federal CARES Act is coming to Erie County to be used for emergency shelter services for the homeless and potentially homeless populations along with $320,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) funding from the federal CARES Act for local food pantry assistance, allowing much greater outreach into many of Erie County’s rural areas. The ESG funds will provide resources to non-profit agencies involved in homeless prevention activities, such as the Homeless Alliance of WNY, to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic locally. 


“This funding provides vital support to county residents who are facing housing- or food-related challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “The economic impacts of the pandemic have been far-reaching, affecting families and individuals across Erie County. These ESG and CDBG funds will help to manage these challenges and provide residents with the supports they need.”


    Homeless Assistance Services utilizing the $1.5 million in ESG grant funding will be targeted at:


•          Rapid Re-Housing - Housing relocation and stabilization services and/or short-and/or medium-term rental assistance as necessary to help individuals or families living in shelters or in places not meant for human habitation move quickly into permanent housing and achieve stability.


•          Homeless Prevention- Housing relocation and stabilization services and short-and/or medium-term rental assistance as necessary to prevent the individual or family from moving to an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation. Eligible participants are those who meet criteria under at-risk of homelessness definition or Category 2, 3, or 4 of HUD’s homeless definition.


•          Shelter Expenses - Shelter Operations, including maintenance, rent, repair, security, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, food, furnishings, and supplies necessary for the operation of the emergency shelter. Where no appropriate emergency shelter is available for a homeless family or individual, eligible costs may also include a hotel or motel voucher for that family or individual.




Dale Zuchlewski, Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance, said, “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.  These funds will now allow us to house people and prevent their homelessness.”


Housing Counseling Services will also receive $100,000 in funding, helping non-profit housing counseling agencies to assist residents who are currently rent or mortgage-burdened. Services will include individual client counseling for rental assistance, one-on-one counseling for rental and homeless prevention, and other financial literacy strategies.


Also included in the CARES Act funding is $320,000 in food pantry assistance to be invested in 21 food pantries in the consortium area. Each pantry will receive funding for equipment (fridges, freezers, racks, shelving) and food through FeedMore WNY. Pantries receiving assistance include:


              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.”


$80,000 in funding will also be provided to FeedMore WNY’s Meals on Wheels program to support their services in the Erie County Community Development Consortium area, which includes the cities of Lackawanna and Tonawanda; the towns of Alden, Aurora, Boston, Brant, Clarence, Colden, Collins, Concord, Eden, Elma, Evans, Grand Island, Holland, Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins, Orchard Park, Sardinia, Wales; and West Seneca, and the villages of Akron, Angola, Depew, East Aurora, Farnham, Gowanda, Lancaster, North Collins, Orchard Park, and Springville.




The Erie County Community Development Consortium is comprised of 34 municipalities which receive HUD funding through CDBG, HOME and ESG grants to assist low-income residents. Grant allocations are awarded to Erie County because the population of the 34 municipalities in the Consortium is over 200,000. 


Funding for these community development grants is directly distributed by HUD to municipalities in Erie County with a population of more than 50,000. In Erie County the Towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, Hamburg and the City of Buffalo receive these community development grants directly from HUD.      



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