BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following Saturday's mass shooting at a Tops grocery store in the City of Buffalo, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that additional resources are on the way.
According to the governor's office, $2.8 million in state and federal funding will be made available to help those affected by the shooting. The funding will be administered by the state Office of Victim Services.
Staff members from OVS will be in the City of Buffalo this week to provide information and help victims and families get financial assistance. To protect the privacy of the victims, the governor's office notes that OVS staff will be set up at a closed location. The location will only be accessible to victims and their families.
"The agency provides a critical safety net and can pay for expenses resulting from a crime when individuals have no other way to pay for them, including funeral and burial expenses, medical and counseling costs, among other expenses, and can assist victims and families with lost wages and loss of support," the governor's office said in a press release.
According to the governor's office, OLV can cover funeral and burial expenses up to $6,000. In addition, the National Action Network has offered to cover any additional funeral expenses for the shooting victims.
"The past 24 hours have been traumatizing for New Yorkers, and my administration will spare no effort to ensure the victims of this act of terrorism by a white supremacist are receiving all the resources and support they need," Governor Hochul said. "The entire world is watching how we will come together as New Yorkers to overcome this unthinkable tragedy. Buffalo, my hometown, is the City of Good Neighbors and New York State will be good neighbors for them."
Hochul says the grocery store shooting happened in an area that's deemed a "food desert," meaning it's the only supermarket within walking distance for many people in the City of Buffalo. To help those in the area get food, Hochul announced that New York is partnering with Lyft and Uber to help those in the City of Buffalo get a ride to and from local grocery stores.
Buffalo residents in the zip codes 14208 and 14209 who need help getting to and from a local grocery store can receive a free ride up to $20 from Uber and $25 Lyft. The free ride applies to two local grocery stores: Tops Friendly Markets (425 Niagara Street, Buffalo) and Price Rite (250 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo).
Those using Lyft can use the code 'BuffaloLyftUp' in the Lyft app to get their free ride. Uber riders can use the code 'SHOPBUF.’
Victims and family members who are looking for assistance or other resources including provide crisis counseling, support groups, advocacy, and other services can do so by checking out the following OVS-funded programs:
- Erie County Medical Center: BRAVE (Buffalo Rising Against Violence at ECMC) and SNUG
- Erie County District Attorney's Office
- Center for Elder Law & Justice Inc.
- Community Services for Every1
- Erie County Probation Department
- International Institute of Buffalo, Inc.
- Neighborhood Legal Services Inc
- Northwest Buffalo Community Center, Inc.
Programs can also be found at www.ovs.ny.gov/connect.