Higgins Announces $468,566 Grant to NFTA for Go Buffalo Mom Program
Congressman Brian Higgins, NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County President & CEO Michael Weiner, and Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council Principal Planner Kelly Dixon
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) will receive $468,566 from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support the Go Buffalo Mom program. The program will assist low-income, high-risk pregnant women in the City of Buffalo reach medical appointments and improve prenatal care.
“Nothing should keep an expecting mother from receiving healthcare, especially a lack of transportation options,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “The Go Buffalo Mom program will reduce barriers to care, improving health outcomes for both the mother and her child.”
Kimberley A. Minkel NFTA Executive Director said, “NFTA-Metro is pleased to be able to play a role in providing needed transportation to medical services for mothers-to-be. Prenatal care is extremely important in making sure mom and baby are healthy and vaccinations are up-to-date during the pregnancy.”
Go Buffalo Mom will match soon-to-be mothers with transportation navigators who will work with them develop the least expensive, most reliable, and shortest public transportation routes to health care appointments through a series of meetings. The program also will provide a financial education and savings program to help clients manage expenses.
"At the United Way we believe that in order for our community to continue to grow and prosper we must first nurture those who will be around for years to come. GO Buffalo Mom is a perfect example of an initiative that fulfills this mission," said Michael Weiner, President and CEO United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. "We are thankful and excited for this funding and look forward to working with our partners Belmont Housing Resources, Catholic Health System and Kaleida Health to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity for the highest possible quality of life."
“While working to save babies lives in the short-term, GO Buffalo Mom is designed to build a long-term, lifeline to self-sufficiency through transportation independence and better money management for families,” said Hal Morse, Executive Director of the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council.
The NFTA created the Go Buffalo Mom program in partnership with a group of members of the Healthy Start Healthy Future for All Coalition, an initiative of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and UBMD that includes the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council, healthcare organizations, medical providers, school and university organizations, government entities, human service organizations, faith-based partners, and transportation experts from One Region Forward. Additionally, over 50 women who would potentially use the service were interviewed to provide individual feedback about their needs.
Go Buffalo Mom was chosen to receive funding through the FTA’s Pilot Program for Innovative Coordinated Access & Mobility competition, known as Rides to Wellness. The concept behind Go Buffalo Mom was developed through a HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative and a Healthcare Access Mobility Design Challenge grant, also funded by the FTA.
Buffalo has an 11.4% pre-term birth rate, the highest of any major city in New York State. Over 1,150 infants in Erie County are delivered pre-term annually. First year medical costs associated with a pre-term birth is approximately $76,000 compared to $17,000 for a full-term birth. Therefore, $59,000 in direct medical expenses is saved for every pre-term birth that is averted.
Congressman Higgins with representatives from the NFTA, United Way and GBNRTC