The UDCDA is a blended agency created through the 2010 merger of UHCDA and KBNHS. It encompasses the spirit and functions of two anchor non-profits which delivered distinctive services to the University District for several decades. The leadership of both agencies came to realize that consolidation of resources and achieving economies of scale would improve the quality of its products and offer more extensive programs in housing and human services for the community at large. Historically, both agencies had developed expertise in its own area.
In 1976, University District Councilman William Price, initiate an assessment of the feasibility of developing a Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) program in Buffalo. The Kensington-Bailey Delavan neighborhood was selected and ultimately became the location of the first NHS in Buffalo.
The NHS was incorporated as Buffalo Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. but did business as Kensington-Bailey Neighborhood Housing Services. In 1981, (after the start of five additional NHS’s), all six affiliated were separately incorporated. Hence, Kensington-Bailey Neighborhood Housing services was born. Ken-Bailey NHS became a leader in housing rehabilitation activities, provided first-time homebuyer programs, administered a lending program, the Revolving Loan Fund, to provide area homeowners a financial means to make repairs to their homes and supported the small business community by establishing a special tax district and creating BADMA, a business district management program. KBNHS’s mission to support and promote area neighborhoods through delivery of a diverse range of housing and economic development programs and services is now incorporated into the newly formed UDCDA.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the concept of a community center to serve the youth of the University District began to develop among mothers who recognized the benefits of organized and safe recreation. In 1971 the women under the strong leadership of Gloria J. Parks, a community resident and mother of seven, formed the University Heights Community Development Association and received a grant to run a summer youth program at St. Joseph’s School.
By 1974 a “storefront” center was opened with senior services added to the list of programs already being provided. In 1976, the University Heights Community Development Association (UHCDA) became a non-profit corporation with lobbying activities begun in order to secure a larger facility and additional funding to expand the scope of their services. Recognizing their efforts and positive impact on the community, City of Buffalo Councilmembers began to set aside the money needed to build a new facility for the UHCDA. In August of 1992, a 3 ½ story building, appropriately named the Gloria J. Parks Community Center, opened its doors as the new home of the UHCDA.
Today we continue to provide the services envisioned by our founders that improve the physical, social and housing conditions of the people we serve. Thousands of individuals on an annual basis are served at our facilities from throughout the University District, the greater Buffalo community and beyond.