Native American Community Services (NACS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 to provide quality health and social services to the off-reservation Native American population in Erie and Niagara Counties. In keeping with our “Tradition of Caring,” we have since grown into a full-scale human services agency committed to helping the entire community, regardless of race or background. NACS has developed innovative and evidence-based approaches that are intended to significantly improve the lives of those who engage in our programs and services. NACS has offices in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Lockport, New York.
NACS began as a single program to address unemployment in the Buffalo Native American community and was originally incorporated as the “Native American Manpower Program.” Through this initial work, barriers to successfully obtaining or retaining employment and other pressing needs of local Native families were identified. Following the establishment of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in 1978, further programs were initiated that began to focus on advocacy and support for Native American children and families. Soon after this expansion, the corporation changed to its present name so to reflect these additional services. Youth programs and casework services became available in the 1980’s.
Native American Foster Care and culturally-based approaches to alcohol and substance abuse prevention programs were initiated later that decade. In the early 1990’s, NACS was one of the first agencies to begin addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS in the local Native American community. By the 2000’s, NACS had expanded its programs to include services to Elders and the developmentally disabled. In 2009, NACS co-produced a documentary titled “Unseen Tears” that explored the intergenerational impacts of historical trauma on our local Native population. Soon after, culturally specific interventions to address those issues were developed such as our Healthy Generations project, Stages of Life Empowerment (SOLE) program, and Healing Our People through Empowerment (HOPE) approach, in addition to expanded cultural and community programming and resources.
NACS continues to strengthen and/or expand programs toward addressing the vast needs of our target population. Our programs are now organized into four components, focused in the following key areas:
Ø Economic Self-Sufficiency including emergency/basic needs support, academic achievement, workforce development, financial literacy and long-term asset building.
Ø Family Services including family preservation, foster care, parenting programs and family supports.
Ø Health and Wellness including prevention of/risk reduction for alcohol/substance abuse and teen pregnancy, along with partnerships to improve general physical well-being.
Ø Community and Cultural Services including Elders and cultural programs, such as a speaker series, Native American language preservation and a cultural resource library.
Through our “Tradition of Caring,” NACS will continue its mission to help strengthen individuals and families mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially, while also building a greater sense of community. It’s our belief that a healthy and thriving Native American population contributes to the vibrancy of the whole Buffalo-Niagara Region!