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Family Promise launches upgrades to homeless shelter

A local nonprofit organization that runs an emergency shelter for homeless families is doubling the program's capacity at its Hickory Street facility.

Family Promise of Western New York broke ground on an expansion of its shelter at the old Saint Columba Parish School at 75 Hickory St., including new family units, additional bathrooms and a fire-safety system. The work by Lamparelli Construction Co. is expected to wrap up by spring 2020, with an open house in the summer.

The $250,000 project is funded by New York State, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the Garman Family Foundation through the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, and 16 other foundations.

Founded in 1996, Family Promise works with donors and volunteers to provide emergency shelter, case management and preventative referral services to help struggling families and keep them together. According to the agency, it's one of only two shelters in Erie County for homeless families, which account for 35% of the homeless population.

“Our shelter is poised to become a safer, more stable and more comfortable environment for our families,” said Luanne Firestone, Family Promise executive director. “Expanding our shelter will allow us to address the critical lack of family shelter space in Erie County.”

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