Buffalo's City Mission is at 100% capacity all year long

Nov 11, 2019

The area around Washington and Tupper streets in downtown Buffalo is increasingly flanked by building rehabs and new structures. One is the expansion of Buffalo City Mission's Men's Shelter, which is full, even as the local economy is in a "renaissance."

City Mission has a major expansion underway to be completed in the middle of next year, expanding the services the facility offers for those who are homeless. It is currently at 100% capacity and has been for more than a year. That is 138 beds.

Assistant Executive Director Aubrey Calhoun said the population is changing, more young people and more older people and fewer veterans as VA programs to get vets housed are having an impact.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"Last year alone, we provided over 138 services to 138 men," he said. "So we work really hard with the VA to make sure that everybody receives the services that they need and get them into long-term housing. So we work really well with the VA."

Even with those shifts, he said the mission is full. As the vets move out, someone else moves in.

"We're at capacity 24/7 at 100%. So our individuals, whether it's during the summer time or during the winter time, capacity does not change," Calhoun said. "There's a need for those that are struggling in Western New York and our doors are always open and we are working very hard to meet everybody's needs. So people that were at the mission, it doesn't deter based on the seasons any more."

Calhoun said the Mission is increasingly successful in working with Erie Community College to get residents through college programs and graduated into self-sufficiency, many in the older age group growing at Tupper and Ellicott.

"We've had a lot of great successes," he said. "We've had a lot of residents who have graduated from college at Erie Community College that we partner and some of them are in their 50+. So we're working really hard to get these people back on the road to self-sufficiency."