Buffalo Area FUP Contractor Secures Local Foundation Funding to Expand Program's Ability to Help Families

Friday, March 19, 2004

The Department's Family Unification Program has done much to keep families on the verge of traumatic separation together. Since 1992, FUP has made it easier for families at risk of being torn apart to access Section 8 rental assistance, providing the decent housing that can be a catalyst for keeping families together. The program targets parents and children who are separated or at imminent risk of separation because of social service- or justice system-related reasons.

In the Buffalo area, Section 8 program contractor Belmont Shelter Corp. has been in the vanguard of bringing the benefits of this program to the community.

Of the approximately 60 new FUP families they assist each year, half are literally starting from scratch in the effort to rebuild their lives together. They need shelter, but often need such items as bedding, dishes, flatware, money for security deposits and other things traditional families take for granted. Within the confines of FUP, only their shelter needs could be met.

But that changed recently when the John R. Oishei Foundation approved a grant request from Belmont, awarding them $25,000 to expand their FUP activities. These funds will now enable Belmont to supplement FUP Section 8 vouchers with small-but-vital grants to give families trying to stay together an even greater chance of success.

Belmont President Elizabeth Huckabone sees the grant as a very positive sign. "Decent housing is essential to every family's quality of life," she says, "and HUD's efforts to focus resources on helping those families with the greatest need in that regard are working. The O'Shei Foundation's willingness to support these efforts demonstrates that the community understands how important it is to keep families together."

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