Yesterday, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation announced it is awarding a $250,000 grant to Jericho Road Community Health Center’s Vive Shelter, located at 50 Wyoming Avenue. The award is earmarked for operational support, mainly staffing.
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. The Foundation—which is named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor—provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. (For more information, visit cabrinihealth.org/ .)
“Mother Cabrini was drawn to people and communities who faced the greatest struggles, and in our first round of grants we were committed to that same mission,” explains Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
Jericho Road Community Health Center’s Vive Shelter is the largest asylee shelter in the United States. Since its founding in 1984, Vive has served over 100,000 asylum seekers from more than 100 countries. Historically, 65% of Vive clients are single mothers and their children.
Throughout its 35-year history, Vive’s primary mission has been to assist asylum seekers en route to Canada. Until recently, most residents typically remained at Vive for up to a few weeks, depending on wait times at the border. Since Jericho Road acquired Vive in 2015, the shelter has increasingly been providing long-term support for residents who wish to seek asylum in the United States.
“Vive was not built with the expectation of housing long-term residents,” explains Dr. Anna Ireland Mongo, chief program officer for Jericho Road. “As we are receiving more and more people who wish to claim U.S. asylum and stay in Buffalo, we are having to adjust our staffing patterns, our building usage, and our internal procedures. All of this puts a strain on our limited resources and we are incredibly grateful that the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is providing operational support to help us meet these new, emerging needs.”
Over the summer, approximately 100 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo arrived during a 10-day period, having been directed to Vive from the southern border. Around Christmas, another large group of Congolese and Angolan families arrived. Since Christmas, the shelter has been at maximum capacity, housing around 160 people daily. The majority are pursuing U.S. asylum cases, though the shelter continues to provide assistance for short-term residents en route to Canada.