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Connecting People In Need With Organizations That Can Help

In meeting the needs of the poor and homeless for the past 30 years, Hearts has become a hub for people looking for help who call, stop in, or email us. Some of them are very desperate. Their life challenge becomes our desire to lend a hand. We are all about assisting them, and that is the reason why we are expanding our programs at Hearts. However, there are certain challenges, services, and questions we can’t help with or have immediate answers, which we end up having to field inquiries to other service agencies. Our aim is to not let anyone leave without guidance or direction on how to get the help they need or answers to their questions. 

Below we have listed the top 3 categories of questions that come in on a regular basis.

Top 3 “I need help” Questions that Hearts Receives

1. Homeless in need of shelter, clothing, supplies.

  • I am homeless and in need of a place to stay (just wants shelter).
  • Crisis – I am going to be homeless and I don’t know what to do (needs info).
  • Agency – I have a client who is homeless and needs shelter and supplies or has a client needing housing (needs info).

These questions come in various forms, and many of them we can provide answers and even fulfill the need for clothing and supplies. But what we can’t do is guarantee a place to stay. We can give them a resource sheet of local homeless shelters and they can make contact.

Most homeless people in Buffalo stay downtown and utilize the main library as a daytime shelter, where they are able to use the public computers to do some of their own research and make phone calls. This is the same library from which Hearts distributes dinner meals.

2. I am in need of food, food pantry.

  • Homeless – where to go to eat?
    • We let them know about Hearts’ feeding program outside the downtown library, and guide them to other feeding programs.
  • Family – has housing, needs food.
  • Crisis – I have no food, what do I do?

Inquiries coming in from our zip code area, we are able to help with food needs and anyone outside our zip code, 1x emergency food assistance through our food pantries. Outside of our zip code area or county, in partnership with FeedMoreWNY, we can connect those in need to other agencies.  

What about Food Stamps?

While Food Stamps and SNAP programs help struggling individuals with obtaining food, they don’t meet the needs of everyone.
If you are in need of SNAP or Food Stamp assistance, please visit https://www.usa.gov/food-help to learn more. 

3. I am in need of housing and rent assistance.

Although in very special circumstances we have helped with housing and rent assistance, Hearts is unable to help with housing or cash assistance on a regular basis and doesn’t have financial resources for this type of assistance. Instead we put the person in contact with local resources that may be able to help with rent assistance & housing.

If you need emergency homeless assistance, please reach out to the organizations below.  

Belmont Housing, 716-884-2358, ext. 305; or resource Center, 716-884-7791
https://www.belmonthousingwny.org/

Department of Social Services, 716-858-8000

https://www3.erie.gov/temporaryassistance/emergency-services

Catholic Charities for basic needs and housing, 716-218-1400

https://ccwny.org/   https://ccwny.org/basic-needs/

 

Local Hotlines, Websites

Buffalo & Erie County Crisis Services 24-hour support, call hotline

716-834-3131, text hotline 716-831-7007

https://crisisservices.org/

Will help with emergency shelter or possibly pay for a motel for a week.

Niagara County Crisis Services 24-hour support, call 716-285-3515

https://www.niagaracounty.com/Departments/Mental-Health-Substance-Abuse-Services/Crisis-Services-Coordination 

Central Referral (resource database with a variety of helps),

Locally call 211 for attendant (not an automated system, actual person), online search engine www.211wny.org


Local Food Banks, Websites

FeedmoreWNY (www.feedmorewny.org) is the main food bank for Western New York/Erie County and Niagara County and beyond. They are the resource to find a food pantry or emergency food pantry.

Locate a Food Pantry:

https://www.feedmorewny.org/programs-services/find-food/pantry-locator/

Locate meal services for any person, group, or agency: https://www.feedmorewny.org/programs-services/community-meal-services/

Find other programs & services (including community meal services): https://www.feedmorewny.org/programs-services/

For a long list of food pantries, meals on wheels, and feeding programs:

www.211wny.org