The JoAnn Wiley Community HUB and Development Project
In 2014, New Generation Ministries purchased a building on Doat Street, putting down even deeper roots in the heart of the East Side. We are currently in process of establishing a community development corporation (CDC), to transform it into a Hub for the surrounding communities. Eventually, we intend to purchase the adjacent vacant lot and property across the street to increase the range of programming available to the community, as well as rehabilitating area houses and establishing family housing.
The Hub campus will create space for collaborative organizations to partner with us in enriching the community. It will also include the soccer field, basketball courts, and recreation center that can be utilized by community athletic league teams and open gym community recreation times. In developing vacant lots into athletic facilities, we take as a model the soccer clubs on the West Side of Buffalo, which have played important roles in building community across lines of ethnic diversity. While promoting young people’s health and wellbeing, fostering athletic talent will open opportunities to them and expand their horizons. In addition to youth and mentoring programming, we want to engage with our partners to provide relationship counseling and job readiness support for the community. We also want to provide court advocacy and financial literacy training for the community.
The East Side of Buffalo
The East Side of Buffalo is a poverty and crime stricken area. The 2014 City of Buffalo (East of Main Street) Community Report, prepared by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute and The John R. Oishei Foundation’s Mobile Safety-Net Team identified the central part of this community, where New Generation is located, as the most poverty stricken, where “close to three-quarters of residents live on income under 200% of the federal poverty level.”
The report identified housing as “the number one urgent concern. One out of four vulnerable residents face a crisis such as homelessness, risk of foreclosure or eviction; many homes have been abandoned, with up to a fifth vacant in some neighborhoods.” The report emphasizes the economic vulnerability of the East Side, citing 45% of children living in poverty, especially high teen birth rates, and low education levels, leading to median incomes being only about half of the county average ($28,100 vs. $48,800). “Generational poverty and the breakdown of family limits the number of role models youth see, especially boys, in this community where two-thirds of families in poverty are single mothers with children.”
Two of the primary gaps in services this report identifies are for “youth programs during after-school hours” and “safe and affordable rental housing for vulnerable adults,” two central components to New Generation’s plans.