Although the future of St. Matthew's Church remains uncertain, there are some great things happening on the block. The former convent, rectory, and school have all been reused in recent years and there is some new work currently underway. This is the first part of a two part series highlighting the good things happening on the St. Matthew's Campus.
The former convent and rectory have been purchased and rehabilitated for the treatment, job training, and safe housing for homeless veterans. It's called the Peter Young Altamont Program, named after Father Peter Young. The Altamont program is funded by the federal government and VA per diem grants. Eric Paul, the director of the Buffalo program led a tour of both buildings and offered his view on the future of the church.
The program at the St. Matthew's campus began in October 2009 and has been expanding ever since. Currently the third floor of the convent is being expanded for additional rooms. New dormers are being added which complement the original dormers very well. Even the color of the roof shingles was thought out so that it would match the roof of the rectory.
The location was chosen because of the access to public transportation as well as the purchase price. It was the right price, at the right time. Residents can easily take the Ferry bus to go to their job in the area or to the VA hospital on Bailey Avenue. The Altamont program is big on reusing historic properties, especially religious ones while also being sensitive to the historic character. While some original windows are being replaced for code purposed, all of the original, beautiful art glass windows are being retained.
Eric was hopeful that St. Matthews could be saved and perhaps even the VA organization could help out. "I would love to see us do something with it. We're trying to find a non-profit business venture, so using the building would be great for that" he said. While the future of St. Matthew's is by no means a secured, there still may be potential for mothballing it and waiting.
^ Stained glass window in the convent stairwell
^ A new roof and additional dormers taking shape at the convent
^ The rectory at St. Matthew's
For more photos of the St. Matthew's Campus including the Church, check out my Flickr page, Views of Buffalo