The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has awarded Buffalo Promise Neighborhood
a grant totaling approximately $962,765. The grant, administered through the DOJ's new Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) program, will fund efforts to improve safety and security for the children and families who live, work and go to school in the Promise Neighborhood, located in Buffalo's 14215 ZIP Code.
"Before we can successfully transform education, health care, housing and other necessities for the children living within Buffalo's Promise Neighborhood, we must first ensure that those children and their families are safe and secure," said Mark J. Czarnecki, President of M&T Bank and Chairman of the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Board of Directors. "This grant will advance our efforts to fulfill that first phase of the promise to the residents of this community, and like all of our work within the Promise Neighborhood, is predicated on collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders, including our congressional delegation, and the various entities and organizations that helped in securing this grant, including The City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Police Department, Buffalo Urban League and Buffalo Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)."
The award, to be administered over three years, will help fund various initiatives, including:
• Additional police patrols for crime "hot spots" in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood;
• Additional equipment such as cameras and radios to help monitor crime;
• A Youth Outreach Program to build long-term mentoring relationships with troubled youths, provide healthy alternatives to violent lifestyles, meet with students and families and provide conflict resolution, mediation and community organizing; and
• A full time case worker located in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood to help residents with things like employment transition, education, family preservation, housing and community development services.
• A research partnership with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute to more closely examine the drivers of crime in the neighborhood and develop data-driven solutions.
"Education is one of the most powerful tools we can give our children, delivering a lifetime of opportunities and purpose but too often negative influences become a barrier to learning," said Congressman Brian Higgins. "I commend the many partners involved who have worked hard to make this possible and work every day to make a difference in the lives of our kids. The goal of Buffalo's Promise Neighborhood is not to build up one neighborhood; it is to create a model for our community and others across this nation so we can give all children the promise of a better education."
"Creating robust partnerships and engaging community at every level is a fundamental component of addressing the criminal activity that often plagues our neighborhoods," said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. "This grant from the Department of Justice will fund efforts by the Westminster Foundation to help support and revitalize communities that are inordinately impacted by crime and will expand planning and implementation resources. I applaud this effort and will continue to fight to ensure that organizations engaged in such vital work have the resources necessary to be successful."
"This is wonderful news for the city of Buffalo and the residents in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood," said Mayor Byron W. Brown. "I am grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood and its valuable partners - including the Westminster Foundation, M&T Bank and others - for continuing to invest in our community by helping to transform and strengthen this proud neighborhood. Each year the city of Buffalo expends hundreds of thousands dollars as part of its contribution and commitment to the promise neighborhood area."
"Safer neighborhoods create a better quality of life, and foster an atmosphere in which children can feel safe at school, at home and in parks and playgrounds," said David K. Chamberlain, Vice Chairman, Westminster Foundation and CEO, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. "This is another important step forward for the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood as we work with our partners to facilitate support services for academic and career success for students in our three schools."