Matt Urban Center’s Hope House Project at Former School 57 Receives $1.36 Million Grant


Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York announced the award of a $1.36 million grant to The Matt Urban Center of Buffalo to help finance the Hope House project, which involves the conversion of a former public school into permanent supportive housing for homeless women.

“The Matt Urban Center’s Hope House project meets a community need through a collaborative effort that will change lives and truly give new hope to the women it serves,” said Congressman Higgins. “This $1.36 million federal investment through the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York provides a substantial base from which the project will move forward.”

“For the past 25 years, the Affordable Housing Program has been a reliable partner for Buffalo’s outstanding housing organizations and the much-needed support they provide,” said José R. González, president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. “We are proud to continue this partnership today as we join with M&T Bank to award this $1.36 million grant to help build Hope House.”

The Hope House project at 243 Sears Street in the City of Buffalo’s Fillmore District consists of the conversion of a former Buffalo Public School #57 into a homeless shelter for approximately 50 single women and/or women with children; eighteen (18) units of permanent supportive housing predominantly for homeless single women; a community health clinic; the Matt Urban Hope Center and Urban Diner by Friends of Night People; and a large food pantry. The total project cost is approximately $12 million.

The Matt Urban Center Executive Director Marlies Wesolowski said, “This project will convert a community eyesore into a quality, affordable, safe, and secure housing for Homeless Women and Homeless Women and their children. It will also provide the much needed and necessary support services for its occupants and their children, giving them a fresh start in life and renewed HOPE for their future.”

The Federal Home Loan Bank award will support construction of the residential units. All of the units will be affordable to very low-income households. Residents will be provided comprehensive supportive services including case management and employment counseling. M&T Bank submitted the application for this funding.

“M&T Bank is pleased to build upon our long-standing partnership and support the vision of Marlies Wesolowski and her team at the Lt. Col Matt Urban Center. This project will transform the former Buffalo Public School 57 on Sears Street into a shelter providing safety, comfort and hopefully, new opportunities for homeless women and children. This is a great reuse for the building and we appreciate the support of Congressman Higgins and our partners at the FHLB in approving our application for this investment in the Buffalo community,” said Brad Dossinger, Community Reinvestment Act Officer for M&T Bank.

Hope House is located directly behind the Polish Community Center, the sponsor, developer and owner of the project. Other development team members are: Savarino Construction, general contractor; Flynn Battaglia, architect; Cannon, Heyman and Weiss, attorney; and Oxford Consulting Inc., development consultant.