Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today congratulated the Northland Workforce Training Center for joining a new national project advancing racial equity in the United States manufacturing sector. The state-of-the-art training center will join nine other organizations to collaborate on ways to strategize solutions to recruitment challenges, deepen relationships between employers and communities, and develop credential-based training programs to forge a more racially inclusive future for manufacturing. The project is supported by Lumina Foundation, a national philanthropy focused on equity and educational attainment and based in Indianapolis.
Mayor Brown stated, “The opening of a place like the Northland Workforce Training Center has been a goal of mine since I served as Councilmember of the Masten District. In the short time since its opening, this Center has positively transformed the lives of residents on Buffalo’s East Side and beyond. I am proud that Northland is now a national model for other communities seeking to create opportunities for residents of diverse backgrounds. Through this collaborative effort, we can achieve greater racial equity in manufacturing and other industries throughout our great nation.”
The Northland Workforce Training Center is the signature workforce initiative that was created in partnership with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion. The Center’s mission is to advance the economic well-being of our region by developing and maintaining a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors, while providing opportunities to job seekers as well as pathways to gainful employment, career advancement and economic sustainability for Western New Yorkers.
National Grid says applications are still being accepted for the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and the Emergency HEAP program through Tuesday, June 30, 2020, while funds are available. The programs have been extended to assist customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills during the COVID-19 emergency.
The programs provide income-eligible families assistance in paying their energy bills and offer relief for households in a heating or heating-related energy emergency. The funds are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis and do not need to be paid back.
The level of funding varies depending on household income, household composition and heating fuel type in relation to income. The income requirement is based on the past four weeks of household income, therefore customers who may not have been eligible in the past are encouraged to apply. Customers who receive HEAP funding will be automatically enrolled in National Grid’s Energy Affordability Program, which provides monthly bill credits.
Customers who believe they may qualify should visit the Erie County Department of Social Services website at www2.erie.gov/heap/. Residents can also call the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance at 1-800-342-3009 or visit the website otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/. Applications are also accepted online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov.
Mayor Brown continues to remind City residents to cooperate with the City’s alternate parking rules. Please obey the “No Parking 6 pm Thursday to 6 pm Monday” signs. The alternate side parking is needed to ensure that emergency vehicles can get down those streets.
Additionally, all on-street parking meters and the alternate parking regulations that were suspended in mid-March will go back into effect on Wednesday, July 1st. The parking regulations were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Residents are encouraged to download Buffalo Roam, the City of Buffalo’s official parking app, which allows motorists to forego coin/credit card payments at the meters, and instead pay from their mobile device. The app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play.
On Friday, June 26th, the City of Buffalo Division of Citizen Services will hold a Block Club and community engagement meeting featuring Department of Public Works Commissioner Michael Finn. During this online forum, Commissioner Finn will provide updates on some of the City’s Capital Improvement Projects, including ongoing paving and walkway improvements, the Middle Main Street project and more. The forum starts at noon. To register, please email nbrown@ city-buffalo.com.
On Friday, June 26th, the Belle Center will be giving away bags of free groceries and masks to families in need at 104 Maryland Street. The distribution runs from 9 am to 1 pm.
Mayor Brown urges small businesses to register with the City’s new online resource, “Reopen Buffalo.” The webpage enhances the City’s ability to communicate with small businesses through the registry where businesses can also share information about their reopening status with each other and the general public. For more information, go to www. buffalony.gov/reopenbuffalo. The webpage includes an interactive map and directory, as well as links to additional resources including: Business Health and Safely Guidelines, Bid Opportunities, Minority and Women-owned Business Services, New York Forward information, and a guide on how to start a small business in the City of Buffalo.
Restaurants and small businesses can also use this resource to submit their applications to the City for open space utilization plans. These plans will allow them to use open spaces contagiously located to their business as they resume more normal operations in a manner that maintains the physical distancing needed to protect their patrons and staff.
Mayor Brown is asking residents to help get the word out about participating in the 2020 Census. The City’s Census response rate as of Thursday, June 25th, is 49.1%. Mayor Brown set a goal of 100% participation. An accurate count allows the City to access hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid that fund infrastructure improvements, education, critical community programming and much more. Complete your questionnaire at 2020Census.gov.
ConnectLife is calling on residents to help restock the blood supply by donating as soon as possible. Donating is safe and physical distancing precautions are in place to protect donors. To make an appointment or to host a blood drive, visit connectlifegiveblood.org.
Find the closest COVID-19 test site near you by visiting covid19.buffalony.gov. The map contains a complete listing of all COVID-19 testing sites, with addresses, which are located throughout the City, contact information for setting up an appointment, hours of operation and whether the site requires a prescription by a doctor for testing.
Mayor Brown urges all Buffalo school students to take part in his Virtual Reading Rules! Kid’s Summer Reading Challenge. His 19th Challenge and Awards Ceremony for Champion Readers will take place completely online this year. Every student who reads 10 books plus writes 10 book summaries, now through August 14, 2020, will be eligible to win even more amazing Raffle Prizes in July & August plus bonus prizes at Mayor Brown’s Virtual Graduation & Awards Ceremony on Saturday, August 29, 2020.
Mayor Brown established this significant educational program 19 years ago when he received alarming statistics about local students who were testing below the New York State average in English Language Arts and Literacy. Since then, over 20,000 children from the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Region have improved their literacy proficiency skills by participating in Reading Rules! To learn more about the challenge, visit buffalony.gov.