Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers: In the Community and Serving the Community
Have you seen a large yellow building on the corner of Orange and Virginia Streets in Buffalo?
That building is affectionately known by longtime Fruit Belt neighborhood residents as the Neighborhood House, operated by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC). The BFNC prepares and empowers its neighbors. The human services agency is connected to an over 100-year history that began in 1893.
Founded during the 1890s Settlement House Movement, the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, Inc. is the product of a 1981 merger of the Westminster Community House, created by the Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1893, and the Neighborhood House Association, founded in 1894.
The Westminster House, located on Monroe Street, and the Neighborhood House Association were established in response to the severe economic recession during that time; making them the second and third oldest settlement houses in the United States. It was then that the two houses collaborated to assist the influx of European immigrants and later southern African American migrants who settled into Buffalo from the 1940s through the 1970s. The mission was to help Immigrant populations rise above the challenges of urban poverty.
It is in this effort that BFNC continues to stay true to its roots, through wrap-around services and programs designed to serve intergenerational populations. Its service recipients range from youth to seniors, as well as individuals with special needs in Buffalo and Erie County.
The organization plays a major role as a human services safety net, ensuring that any Western New Yorker who needs help and/or who has trouble accessing services, or has slipped through the cracks of the human service system, has a trusted place to go.