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Catholic Charities shows off renovations at Central Intake Office

Event held to demonstrate how donors' dollars work to provide hope for those in need of emergency assistance.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As Appeal 2021 winds down, Catholic Charities already has something to celebrate.

Tuesday officials provided a first look at renovations nearly complete on its Central Intake Office on Washington Street in downtown Buffalo.

The aim was to show how donors' dollars provide hope for those in need of emergency assistance. The office provides basic needs such as prescriptions, food, utilities, personal care, clothing, and household items. Clients are also assessed and given referrals for any additional services or resources that may be needed. Last year, the office helped nearly 5,000 clients.

“Clients who typically seek our Central Intake services are at a very challenging time in their life and we want them to feel invited into a safe space, and one that is less institutional-looking in appearance,” said Deacon Steve Schumer, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.

“This facility hadn’t been updated in decades and the renovation is an example of our donors’ dollars at work. Funds raised during our annual Appeal make our Central Intake services possible. Thanks to the ongoing support of our community and a grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation, we are not only providing hope for our neighbors in need with these emergency services but are now able to offer them in a welcoming and supportive space.”

The three-month project is just about done and will be welcoming in-person and walk-in appointments later this summer.

“Even as we shifted from in-person appointments and walk-ins to nearly all telephone assistance during the pandemic, this renovation is focused on post-pandemic, anticipating future community and client need,” said Kristin Rivera, Central Intake supervisor, Catholic Charities.

“As pandemic restrictions start to loosen, including supplement unemployment assistance, rent forgiveness, and added money through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), we anticipate that in the months ahead the number of people needing help will increase. This renovation will help us to provide services more efficiently, in a calm and comfortable space with an increased focus on privacy and support for our clients.”