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On the Edge…At the Center
Stories from the Manchester Homeless Services Center
By Christopher Emerson, Manager
The 3 Rs
Around the Homeless Services Center, these days the 3 Rs are Reading, Writing and Remembering.
We have just launched a program in functional literacy. It’s a program called Reading Plus®, but we call it “Reading to Win” since we focus on what they can win with a higher reading level. A job? An apartment? Enjoyment? Independence? An enhanced sense of self?
Granite United Way has made it possible for us to participate in this significant program. We have five people who have been through the assessment phase, testing at 1st grade through 8th grade levels. Larry Tieg, a community volunteer, is acting as reading coach, and he encourages them to stick with the online tutorials. We have built-in incentives and rewards to help spur participation.
But what is emerging as the greatest challenge? It’s not the reading. It’s the remembering. Homeless people often lose track of time so quickly that showing up for a 1:30 PM reading session is difficult. Distraction happens so easily. Impulse control is so challenging. Such is the minute-to-minute world of the homeless.
But we will persevere, encouraging, encouraging and encouraging some more. Even if they forget, we will remember. That’s why we’re here.
MCoC’s New VISTA: Kaitlin Simpson
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small village in Northwest Ohio named Weston. It’s about forty minutes south of Toledo, Ohio.
2. What college/university did you attend?
I attended Bowling Green State University (also in NW Ohio).
3. What is your degree in? Why did you pursue that particular degree?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and my minor was in Sociology. I began as a Journalism major, but then I fell in love with my psych classes freshman year. I am a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, so volunteering was a huge part of my life growing up. I knew I wanted to continue helping others through my future career, and Psychology seemed like the right undergrad degree to take me in that direction.
4. What do you hope to get out of your VISTA experience?
I interned at a Job and Family Services in Ohio while I was in college, and while I was there I often worked directly with the clients. This position seemed like a good way to gain experience in the other administrative aspects of nonprofit/social service work. I was also very interested in relocating and experiencing another part of the country, and Manchester seemed like the perfect place to start my career.
5. What is your favorite thing to do on a day off of work?
So far I am enjoying exploring the east coast and being so close to so many different things. I love all of the historical aspects of New England. I also enjoy crafting and being creative, and I am having fun spending time with all of my new VISTA friends.
Serenity Place, Manchester’s addiction crisis and education center, held the Golf Gathering to Honor Dick Simard July 19 at Candia Woods. After a break of 2 years, the golf event came back in full swing, raising funds to support services at the nonprofit agency. Nearly 60 golfers hit the links, enjoyed goody bags sponsored by the Anagnost Companies, a wonderful lunch, raffles and live auction and the summer’s best weather day, hands down. Members of Dick Simard’s family joined the fun and there was a remembrance of “Dixie”, as his friends and family knew him. Simard was an avid golfer, but an even more avid advocate of Serenity Place, having served several terms on the Board of Directors and been involved for more than 15 years. Alan Brennan of Route 66 Print Sales and Serenity Development Director Loretta Prescott organized the event and look forward to next year’s. For a photo gallery of the day, visit http://www.SerenityPlace.org
left-right Clinical Director Kelly Reardon, Program Director Jenn Bergeron, Executive Director Sharon Drake, Development Director Loretta Prescott, Receptionist Donna Hayden
In early July, Families in Transition (FIT) announced that they were acquiring Manchester Emergency Housing (MEH), the city’s only shelter available to homeless families. On July 23rd, FIT launched a 5-day “shelter makeover” of the building. FIT was also able to add some landscaping and install a new playground set. Several businesses and individuals donated items, time and trades skills to the shelter during the makeover. Items donated include furniture, brand new mattresses, supplies for the makeover and other household essentials. Contributors to the project include the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Digital Prospect Corporation, Merchants Automotive Group, FairPoint Communications, New Hampshire Housing, United HealthCare, US Airways/Do Crew, Parker’s Electric Service and students from the Derryfield School.
There are many changes coming our way from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The “Interim Final Rule” for the Homeless Emergency Assistance and rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH): Continuum of Care Program/ Interim Final Rule was just released on July 31, 2012. This can be found:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-31/pdf/2012-17546.pdf. There are also a series of webinars posted on the www.hudhre.info site. We are currently in the 30-day public comment period. If your organization is funded through the Continuum of Care Super NOFA or Manchester’s Emergency Solutions Grant program (ESG). It is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with this “Interim Final Rule”.
Also, in preparation for the upcoming Super NOFA competitive grant process, the Leadership Committee has asked last year’s Peer Review Committee to serve once again. All members agreed to take on this responsibility. The MCoC is very fortunate to have some incredibly experienced and talented members:
Bill Guinther, Program Policy Analyst -New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority
Renie Denton, Executive Director-Manchester Community Resource Center, Inc
M.J. Driscoll, Vice President, Market Support Specialist-Bank of America
Chris Grenier, Vice President, Community Investment Manager-Citizens Bank
Elise Annunziata, Planner, Community Improvement Program-City of Manchester
The Resource Development and Data Collection Committees have been holding combined meetings for the last two months. The Committees feel that the work they are doing is so closely coordinated that this approach is the best use of all members’ time. Anyone interested in joining this team is welcome. Please contact either Cathy Kuhn email@example.com or Susan Howland Susan.Howland@graniteuw.org if you are interested. Reminder: It is expected that your agency will serve on the Resource Development Committee if your organization receives any funding through the MCoC NOFA. These committees meet on the third Thursday of the month from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the HUD conference room–same room as MCoC meetings–just prior to the general assembly meetings.
Timing is still unknown for the NOFA release. Our team anticipates a very busy Fall!