Journey Home works collaboratively for sustainable solutions to homelessness in the Greater Hartford Area.
Journey Home is kicking off National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week with the 2nd Annual Cardboard City Sleep Out
Youth from colleges and faith groups all across Greater Hartford will be spending a night outside to learn about, and advocate for, our neighbors who don’t have a place to call home each night.
If you are interested in participating in the event, CLICK HERE to register.
If you cannot participate, but would like to support the effort, CLICK HERE to donate.
What is Journey Home?
Journey Home Welcomes Two New AmeriCorps Volunteers
Sarah Trench (left) recently graduated with a Sociology degree from New York University's College of Arts and Science. She is currently working on attaining a Master of Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, but is taking a year off from her studies to gain some real world experience working as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA). While studying at NYU, she studied abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain. Previously, Sarah worked as a research assistant for the “Connecting Youth: Digital Learning Research Project” at NYU. With her education and work experience, she hopes to work on improving social policy through research and evaluation in the future. Sarah is serving as the Housing Innovations Coordinator VISTA at Journey Home.
Mollie Greenwood (right) graduated from Gettysburg College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Globalization Studies, and a minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies. During college she had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Amman, Jordan. After graduating, Mollie served for a year in City Year New Hampshire where she worked as a full time classroom tutor in an urban elementary school. Mollie is passionate about social justice and encouraging conversations between diverse groups of people. She is very excited to be working in the Greater Hartford community this year. Mollie is serving as the Coordinated Access and Employment Opportunities VISTA.
Journey Home Board Chair, Mark Fox, Passes Gavel to Betsy Crum, Executive Director of the Connecticut Housing Coalition
At the Journey Home Annual Meeting in June, Mark Fox (left) completed his term as Chair of the Board of Directors. Mark Fox has been the backbone of Journey Home since 2007, when he served as the Transitional Manager for Journey Home during the search for an Executive Director. He joined the Board of Directors in 2008, and served as Board Treasurer from 2009 until 2012. In June, he completed two years of service as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Journey Home. Journey Home was barely a year old when Mr. Fox joined the board, and since that point, Mark has sustained, strengthened, and grown the organization. He personally helped to incubate and nurture the nonprofit organization in order for it to become a more established agency. Mr. Fox has provided Journey Home with financial expertise from his banking background, bookkeeping, fund development, human resources, and most importantly, compassionate leadership on the issue of homelessness. His vision for a community without chronic homelessness has been the keystone that led Journey Home to develop numerous innovative projects. No one is more worthy of recognition than Mr. Fox for each person that has been positively impacted by Journey Home.
Betsy Crum (right) joined Journey Home's Board of Directors in 2012, and has already been an incredible asset to the organization. Her gifts in strategic direction have helped guide the organization to hone its mission and focus on areas where the greatest impact can be had. Her 30 years of knowledge and experience in affordable and supportive housing and community development are strengths that few others can claim. She has held many senior positions and is currently the Executive Director of the Connecticut Housing Coalition, which gives her an understanding and authority on board development and nonprofit management. Her skills and expertise will no doubt be very instrumental in strengthening and propelling Journey Home into the future.
Travelers Championship and Birdies for Charity : Thank You Journey Home Supporters!
The Travelers Championship PGA golf tournament took place June 16-22nd at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT. Birdies for Charity is a fundraiser presented by CohnReznick where nonprofits collect donations and pledges for their organizations based on the number of birdies (a score of one stroke better than par for any golf hole) made during the 2014 Travelers Championship. These funds are further leveraged by the Birdies for Charity Bonus Bucks Program, from which each participating organization will receive an additional award in the amount of 15% of total donations/pledges solicited during the fundraiser thanks to a generous donation from the sponsoring organization.
Journey Home, with the help of a dedicated Board of Directors, was able to raise over $17,000 through this fundraiser from our dedicated donors, equaling almost $20,000 with the inclusion of the Bonus Bucks, to go towards ending chronic homelessness in Greater Hartford. Because of this extraordinary show of support, Journey Home was awarded a booth in the Fan Zone for one full day at the tournament where we were able to get some valuable exposure and raise awareness for our organization among the 50,000 fans that attend the tournament each year. On behalf of the entire staff and Board of Journey Home, we would like to express our immense gratitude for the generous contributions made by all of our donors. We rely on the generosity of supporters like you to continue our work in the Greater Hartford community.
CCEH releases the initial results from the 2014 Point-in-Time Count of people experiencing homelessness in Hartford. Click here to view the report.
Encore!Hartford 2013 Graduation
Roy Mainelli graduated from the Encore!Hartford program on Thursday, June 20. This program is offered by the University of Connecticut in partnership with Leadership Greater Hartford which supports and facilitates the transition of professionals from the private sector to careers in the nonprofit sector. During his fellowship with Journey Home, Roy completed two top priority projects for the Opening Doors – Greater Hartford Economic Security Task Force – hosting an Employment Case Conference and implementing an employment survey of the emergency shelters, transitional and permanent supportive housing residents to obtain employment focused baseline data. We look forward to continuing the work of Opening Doors – Greater Hartford Economic Security Task Force with the data obtained from both the Employment Case Conference and Survey. We appreciate all the hard and meaningful work Roy did, as well as the Encore!Hartford program. Roy will continue on with Journey Home as a consultant working on a social enterprise project seeking to create employment opportunities for those experiencing homelessness.
On Thursday, April 25, Kara Svendsen of Journey Home, Inc., Jay Wood of Capital Workforce Partners, and Patrice Moulton of Community Renewal Team presented on the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Project (HVRP) at the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)'s 21st Annual Conference on Serving Adults with Disabilities. The keynote speaker for the conference was Laurie Harkness, Ph.D., founder and Director of the VA Conecticut Healthcare System's Errera Community Care Center. The day also included a panel discussion of returned veterans about their experiences reintegrating into school and work following deployment. Journey Home was happy to be a part of such an interesting conference and to share with education professionals our employment program for veterans experiencing homelessness, HVRP.
Encore!Hartford Fellow Joins Journey Home
Roy Mainelli is a Fellow from the Encore!Hartford Program; a program offered by the University of Connecticut in partnership with Leadership Greater Hartford which supports and facilitates the transition of professionals from the private sector to careers in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining the Encore!Hartford Program, he had a successful career at UTC Aerospace Systems as a seasoned executive in strategic planning, program and operations management.
Roy holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He lives in West Hartford with his wife and has three children.
Roy will be working to plan and implement a survey event that will help gather information on employment skills and barriers among the homeless population and residents of transitional and supportive housing. The survey results will be used to plan for employment training, literacy, and transportation programs to serve the homeless population and housing residents.
CT Residents Come Together to Learn about Homelessness
Last Friday 88 students and community members from across Connecticut braved the lightning and rain to devote their Friday night to learning about homelessness at Journey Home’s Cardboard City Sleep Out. The Sleep Out was hosted by the University of Saint Joseph Social Work Student Alliance on their campus in West Hartford. READ MORE
The Cardboard City Sleep Out kicked off with an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, a facilitated dinner exploring wealth distribution and hunger across the globe, and continued well into the night with various awareness raising activities led by college and community groups including: a privilege walk, an activity about how homelessness affects different populations, an activity exploring difficulties unique to youth homelessness, a training on leadership styles and a candlelight vigil in honor of victims of hate crimes against the homeless. The Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau led a panel discussion with individuals experiencing homelessness, which moved and inspired many participants. The night ended with participants sleeping in cardboard boxes in recognition of those who do not have a home to go to at night.
Journey Home is a nonprofit working collaboratively to research and implement sustainable solutions to homelessness in the Greater Hartford region. The event raised $2633, which will help support Journey Home’s initiatives to end homelessness in the Greater Hartford region.
Volunteers and participants included students and staff from Capital Community College, Central Connecticut State University, Goodwin College, Springfield College, UConn School of Social Work, University of Hartford, University of Saint Joseph, and Wesleyan University; AmeriCorps VISTA members placed throughout Connecticut; staff from Hartford Behavioral Health, Beat of the Street newspaper, and the Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau.
The event was made possible by presenting sponsor Reid and Riege, P.C. and in kind donations from Hartford Behavioral Health, Print Indie, Firebox Restaurant and the Kitchen at Billings Forge, Dunkin Donuts, Panera Bread, Goldberg’s Bagels, and Bruegger’s Bagels.
To see more photos of the Cardboard City Sleep Out, click here.
Journey Home is a non-profit organization created to lead the effort to prevent and end homelessness in the Capitol Region. The role of Journey Home is to identify new approaches and orchestrate their implementation by acquiring funding and engaging service providers and related organizations in the public and private public sectors. For more information, call 860 808-0336 or visit www.journeyhomect.org.
Starting the Year Off Right: Church Group Devotes Their Weekend to Helping People Experiencing Homelessness
On January 4th-6th, 2013, a group of eleven volunteers from the First Church of Christ, Congregational, Glastonbury explored Hartford through service projects with different housing providers to help people experiencing homelessness. Projects included painting at The Open Hearth, serving dinner at McKinney Shelter, and brunch and more painting at Peter’s Retreat. Thank you to Dave and his crew for all of their hard work!
By Verinda Birdsong, posted on Examiner.com, Ms. Birdsong's reflections on the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Services in New Britain and Hartford.
Hartford Homeless Memorial
On Friday, December 21, 2012 members of the Hartford community came together to remember and honor 20 individuals known to have passed away over this last year while experiencing homelessness. It is a time honored tradition on this shortest day and longest night of the year to remember those who spend these long nights out in the cold, without a home, particularly those who have died from living in such circumstances. Pastors, formerly homeless individuals and advocates spoke to those in attendance, drawing attention to the injustice that is homelessness and asking the community to come together to continue the efforts to prevent and end homelessness. One moving piece of the ceremony, was a poem written and delivered by John E. Q. Butler, who has his own previous experience with homelessness. His poem and the names of those who passed can be viewed here.
Executive Director Matt Morgan explores whether permanent supportive housing promotes recovery or dependency for drug-addicted individuals in Partnership for Strong Communities' Partnership Blog.
Read about Executive Director Matt Morgan's presentation on innovative solutions to homelessness in the Wethersfield-Rocky Hill Rotary Club Newsletter.
Written by former Journey Home intern Emily Anderson and printed in Communities & Banking, this article explores the Greater Hartford Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program.
A Home for the Holidays
Journey Home’s newest Moving On resident, Florence Times, received a blessing from Gilead Congregational Church on Sunday afternoon. The Moving On Initiative, transitions people out of permanent supportive housing into their own, more independent living environment. Ms. Florence Times was extremely excited to move into her new unit in the beginning of October. Her story is one of resilience and, according to her, the grace of God. Prior to entering permanent supportive housing with Chrysalis Center / YWCA, Florence was homeless for about 10 years, living on the streets, in abandoned buildings, cars, or couch surfing. Her history of trauma is extensive, from witnessing violent murder as a child to being attacked and left for dead by a serial killer, surviving abusive relationships and culminating with the shooting and murder of her son while she was incarcerated for a brief period. Yet after it all, her main expression is one of gratitude and faith. Since experiencing homelessness Florence has been able to connect to services and rekindle relationships with her family. She has been reunited with a son who was removed from her home when he was just a baby, and has been able to establish a strong relationship with him and her grandchild. Florence’s one wish was to be able to unite the one’s she loves around a table for the holidays. Thanks to Carol Geyer, and other members of Gilead Congregational Church, Florence will be able to invite her family to her new home for the holidays. In addition to a table, generous community members donated silverware, dinnerware, pots and pans, and other important items for a hostess. Thank you to Florence for opening up about her life to us, and to Gilead Congregational for their continued generosity to help those less fortunate.
Homelessness Can Happen To Anyone
Journey Home Receives Grant from US Labor Department
On June 19th, Journey Home was one of 64 grantees to be awarded the Homeless Veteran’s Reintegration Program grant through the U.S. Labor Department. The funds awarded through this grant will be used to implement a collaborative intensive employment training program for homeless veterans in Hartford, Tolland and Middlesex Counties. The collaborative includes housing and shelter providers, Workforce Solutions Collaborative, healthcare providers, Capitol Workforce Partners, local employers from growing fields, and other community organizations that provide training and other necessities to get people back into the workforce.
Four students from Amity High School in Woodbridge, Connecticut are donating the proceeds from their marketing class project to benefit Journey Home. The boys, Skye Zawadski, Dan Hecht, Timmy Fox and Nick Walker (left to right), found Journey Home online and decided to organize a raffle to raise money to help us in our work to end homelessness. Raffle tickets have been for sale during lunch periods to other students with winners to be drawn on May 18th. All of the items up for raffle have been donated by local businesses to help them in their effort. Journey Home would like to offer a huge thank you to the four young men and the local businesses they turned to. We could not continue our work without thoughtful actions like yours!
Gilead Congregation Church: Once Again a Blessing for a Newly Housed Resident
Hartford, CT-On Sunday, May 6th, members of Gilead Congregational Church in Hebron, donated household furnishings to a previously homeless Hartford resident moving into her own place. A bed, sofa, dining room set and kitchen supplies were among the items collected and delivered on Sunday evening. The excited and motivated new tenant, Oletha, is working with Chrysalis Center and Community Renewal Team to get back on her feet, and has just started a new job. She was incredibly appreciative for the kindness of these individuals and their church community. Oletha’s rental certificate was made available when one of Chyrsalis’ clients graduated from permanent supportive housing into one of Journey Home’s Moving On units.
Youth Take Time From Their Spring Break to Paint a Property in Hartford
On Friday, April 20th, youth from Gilead Congregational Church in Hebron, helped landlord, Carlos Valinho, to paint a rental property on Hungerford St in Hartford. 10 units at this location are part of Journey Home's Moving On initiative which encourages individuals and families to move out of permanent supportive housing into more independent living situations. We would like to extend a big thank you to the youth from Gilead Congregational for taking the time to make this property more of a home for the residents that live there!
Presentation to Women’s League of Voters
West Hartford, CT- On March 22, Journey Home staff and partner, Mercedes Soto, Director of Housing for Community Renewal Team, were given the opportunity to present to the Women’s League of Voters Greater Hartford at the West Hartford town hall. The presentation included information about the innovative solutions to homelessness being implemented and developed by Journey Home and partners, as well as a brief summary of what the homeless population currently looks like in the Greater Hartford Region. The presentation was followed by a Q&A period that sparked interested discussion. We would like to give a big thank you to Sandy Fry with the LWVGH for the invitation to speak to the League.
Hilton Hartford Donates TVs and Furniture to 23 Area Non-Profits
HARTFORD, CT - Journey Home, Inc., the nonprofit organization leading greater Hartford’s fight to end homelessness, is teamed up with the Hilton Hartford, located at 315 Trumbull Street, to facilitate the donation of nearly 225 TVs and 225 armoires to area nonprofits and faith-based organizations which provide temporary or transitional housing, health care and related services to greater Hartford families who are homeless or in need. READ MORE
Twenty-three agencies arrived at a storage facility in Windsor on February 23 to receive the donated items for use in transitional living, health care, and social service facilities. Many of the TVs will be used by agencies in their community rooms or for improving their technological capacity to educate and serve clients. Other televisions and armoires will be passed on to the families served by these non-profit agencies.
“This is a great way for the Hilton Hartford to give back to the community,” says Duane Schroder, General Manager of the Hilton Hartford. “We have upgraded the TVs and furniture items at the hotel as part of an improvement plan, yet they are still very functional and in good condition. The nonprofits in this area work so hard every day to help people, and hopefully this will make their work a little easier.”
One of the agencies that benefited from the donation was the North Central Area Agency on Aging, located in Hartford. According to Executive Director, Carmen Reyes, the items they were picking up were going to consumers with the Money Follows the Person Program, that transitions elderly people with disabilities from nursing homes “back into the community, with services, that’s safe, and with dignity.” Both Carmen and her co-worker, Linda Cobbs, expressed their sincere gratitude at being able to share this “blessing” with their consumers.
Pastor Al Royal from the Life Church, of Granby, was similarly grateful for the blessing of the donations for their church members. “We have a lot of families that are in need. A lot of them have moved to different locations, some of them have been homeless. So what we’ve been able to do, is by connecting with Journey Home is being able to leverage an opportunity, like this, to help these six families.” Pastor Al and eight others loaded several vehicles to assist their fellow church members and then eagerly assisted other agencies to load their trucks.
Employees and clients from The Open Hearth Association, Inc., who collected items for their extended transitional living and half-way-house programs, similarly spent many hours loading and unloading trucks for other agencies as well. Marilyn Rossetti, Executive Director of Open Hearth, stated, “The donated items will be so helpful to these programs, which serve so many in our community.”
Journey Home works to increase collaboration, provide support and bring new resources to the fight to end homelessness in the Greater Hartford region. “By attracting resources through corporate partners such as the Hilton Hartford, Journey Home can help other agencies and the people they serve, and have a significant impact on their lives.” says Matt Morgan, Journey Home’s President.
Featuring Journey Home’s, Matt Morgan, and other partners in the effort to prevent and end homelessness here at home.
Medically Vulnerable Homeless Individual Housed...
On Sunday afternoon, members of Gilead Congregational Church, donated their time and home wares to turn one man's new apartment into a home. The tenant, a chronically homeless man with chronic health issues, has been on Journey Home’s Vulnerability Index Survey for two years running. The apartment, obtained through Hands on Hartford, was made available through Journey Home's Moving On Initiative, which helps residents of permanent supportive housing move on to more independent living situations as their service needs decrease, freeing up their units for those with greater needs, such as the tenant who moved in on Sunday.