Story: Erie County Child Advocacy Center

The Sponsor

BestSelf Behavioral Health is the largest community-based behavioral health organization serving children and adults in Western New York. Its certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) work with more than 35,000 individuals each year. CCBHCs are designed to improve overall health by caring for the whole person—better integrating behavioral health care with physical health care and increasing the use of high-quality, evidence-based practices.

BestSelf offers programs and services focused on education and vocational supports, mobile mental health and substance use disorders, housing/homeless outreach school-based programs and a model child advocacy center, which serves children and families affected by abuse.

The Project

Broadstreet committed $6 million of LISC’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation, with US Bank as the investor, to renovate a downtown Buffalo building to house an expanded Erie County Child Advocacy Center (CAC), as well as the BestSelf headquarters. Key Bank is providing additional financing for the project.

Located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the new facility will be more than four times the size of BestSelf’s current CAC program space.

Impact Statistics

  • $6 M Broadstreet NMTC Allocation
  • 30 Projected Permanent Jobs Created
  • 3,800 Projected Unique Children Served Annually

The Impact

The CAC is a coordinated model of care that brings together medical and mental health professionals with victims’ advocates, caseworkers from Child Protective Services, and law enforcement, all working together to offer a comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers. The new facility will offer access to sexual and physical abuse services, counseling, and legal aid as well as a wrap-around services related to housing, educational support and employment assistance. The new facility means BestSelf will have the capacity to meet the needs of the 3,000 children in Western New York who are impacted by abuse each year—up from 800 in its current space.

The project will add 30 jobs to the CAC’s existing 200-member staff. It will remediate a brownfields site in an underinvested community of color, where the average income is just 48 percent of the area median. And it will support a priority investment corridor for both the City of Buffalo and for LISC Western New York.