Making a House a Home: Warehouse Move

There is a saying that “It takes a village to raise a child” but in our circumstances
it takes a village to move a warehouse!

It was quite the feat to move a little over a half mile. From our warehouse on
Talcott Road where we began our partnership with A Hand Up, to our new
home on New Park Ave, West Hartford. We had numerous warehouse moving
days, where volunteers assisted in transporting items from Talcott to New Park,
boxing up kitchen items, bagging up linens, and delivering highly requested
beds, dressers, and kitchen tables to our new space. We had a few different
moving sales, where volunteers helped to put on free “tag sales” to help clear out
some of the items that were no longer needed in order to find them a home other
than the dumpster. This brought in some wonderful donations from people in
the community and helped to increase awareness about our programs and the
work that we are able to do in the Capital region.

We have truly begun making our new space ready for our furniture donations.
We have had numerous move-in days with our volunteers on Saturdays and
Sundays, weekly delivery and pick up days, and several deliveries with The
Hartford, Travelers, Nassau Re’, and other businesses who have joined our
growing team of volunteers who have helped formerly homeless households in
this community.

It has been a busy time before, during, and after our move, and we are excited to
see all the progress that we can make for this program to become an even bigger
success, and help so many more households in the Greater Hartford area.

In Their Own Words…

On Saturday, August 25th, two 13-year-old girls from West Hartford embarked on a Journey Home makeover with our Making a House a Home program. Lucy Kabakoff and Marley Brown were working on their mitzvah project for their upcoming bat mitzvah celebrations. In a matter of a few short hours they transformed a bare apartment into a fully furnished home for a mother and her four children. They reflect on their day below…

“Journey Home was a great experience. It made us appreciative of what we have. Also, it showed us how capable we are to help others in need. The day we did the project we did not know what to expect at the beginning, but by the end, we were so proud of what we accomplished and how happy the family was. Part of being a bat mitzvah is doing a project that helps or gives back to others. In the Jewish religion It is known that the highest form of a mitzvah (a good deed) is helping someone help themselves. That is what we were able to do when doing this project. We played a part in helping this family be successful.”

Re-Entry Welcome Center at Hartford City Hall

Community Partners in Action (CPA) was awarded a grant from Hartford
Foundation for Public Giving to develop and operate a Reentry Welcome Center.
The Reentry Welcome Center is located on the ground floor of City Hall at 550
Main Street in Hartford. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to
4:00 pm. The Center will provide individuals returning home from incarceration
access to support, resources, information and referrals to vital services. The
Center welcomes anyone who is formerly incarcerated and is seeking basic
information on programs and resources that will assist them in reintegrating
back into our community. The Welcome Center is prioritizing individuals who
have recently been released to the community as end of sentence (EOS), which
means the individual is not on parole and/or probation upon release.

The Center was opened on Monday, September 17th and since then they have
served over 60 people and have had two Department Of Corrections (DOC) drop
offs (individuals dropped off after EOS from a correction center). They currently
have Department of Social Services (DSS), Foodshare and Toivo by Advocacy
Unlimited committed to providing services in the Welcome Center once a week.
DSS will be there to assist individuals with applying for health insurance, SNAP
benefits and/or cash assistance. Foodshare will also be at the center once a week
to assist with obtaining Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
benefits. Tovio by Advocacy Unlimited will provide financial literacy to the
participants of the center. The staff at the Welcome Center have all been trained
in our Coordinated Access Network (CAN) system and will be able to assist their
clients with diversion and/or shelter placement.

These services provided by the Reentry Welcome Center are essential to an
individual’s successful reintegration back into our community. Similar Centers
have been established in New Haven and Bridgeport. For more information
about the Reentry Welcome Center in Hartford, pleases contact Anthony Carter,
Supervising Case Manager from Community Partners in Action at (860) 973-2748
ext. 2748 or via email at [email protected]

Greater Hartford Emergency Shelters 100 Day Campaign

Over the past seven months, emergency shelters in the Greater Hartford area
have been working together to improve our system of providing services, and
ensure that all shelters are focused on quickly helping people return to
housing. The area shelters have all spent months working together to make sure
all aspects of the shelter program were focused on housing.
As part of this learning process, the Greater Hartford shelters launched a 100 Day
Campaign starting in August to house 265 households out of the shelters over
just 100 days. So far, this campaign has led to shelters getting creative and
forming partnerships with local businesses to fundraise, as well as collaborating
even more closely with local housing programs. Shelters are tracking their
progress, and at the end of the fifth week, 54 households had already left the
shelters and entered housing! The shelters who are participating in this
campaign include CRT’s McKinney Shelter, CRT’s East Hartford Family Shelter,
The Open Hearth, ImmaCare, South Park Inn, Salvation Army Marshall House,
and the YWCA.

In addition to this, the whole state of Connecticut has embarked on a challenge to
End Family Homelessness, and across the state all of our family shelters and
housing programs are coming together to help families get back into housing

The Hartford 100 Day campaign began on August 15th and will run until
November 23rd, and in that time, if we reach our goal, it will mean we have
housed people three times as quickly as over the past year, and that matters!
• If you know of any landlords with openings, we’d love to share the
information with our shelters – you can contact our Housing Facilitator
here, or invite the landlords to call our office!
• Making a House a Home is continuing to furnish apartments for families
and individuals housed through the campaign, and we always need

We are so excited to see all the housing happening out of the shelters, and can’t wait to see where the rest of the campaign takes us!

Melville Charitable Trust Awards Journey Home $40,000

Journey Home is thrilled to announce that we have received a $40,000 grant from
the Melville Charitable Trust to further the efforts of the Greater Hartford
Coordinated Access Network (GH CAN). Two system service gaps have been
identified by GH CAN membership over the last year and this funding will help
to fill these gaps within our system. The grant will allow us to speed up the
housing search process by hiring a Housing Locator. It will also provide us the
opportunity to continue our very important work in homeless outreach coverage
and coordination.

We are very grateful to the Melville Charitable Trust for their continued support
of our work and mission.

The Melville Charitable Trust is the largest foundation in the U.S. exclusively
devoted to ending homelessness. The Trust invests in proven, lasting, and costeffective
solutions that enable people with the least resources and biggest
barriers to success to reclaim their lives. And where solutions have not yet been
identified they support exploration and innovation to find the most promising
approaches. The Trust’s grantmaking dollars are roughly split between efforts to
end homelessness in their home state of Connecticut and in creating a better
policy environment at the national level. Since their founding in 1990, they have
invested over $140 million in to end homelessness for good. Learn more at

Thank You to Our Friends at Watkinson School

On August 2nd, Watkinson School, through the leadership of Jenni French, we
had a group of about 8 volunteers helping to deliver furniture and household
goods to two clients in need in the South End of Hartford.
We started out on Wyllys Street, helping bring items up 3 narrow, short flights of
stairs, with lots of landings to a couple that had moved in the month prior and
needed some final items to make their house a home. Delivering linens, dish sets,
and somehow, some way, we delivered some heavy dressers and a bookcase up
to that third floor. The client’s wife who met us there was so grateful and
appreciative, especially as she saw us struggle to get those items up the stairs.
This team of Watkinson Employees was committed to making sure they got what
they needed, there was nothing but positive attitudes to make the day a huge
success. What amazing role models for the students at Watkinson!

After we had our first stop on the third floor, we could only continue the theme
and stick with another third-floor apartment. This time we were able to serve a
client that was going through our Aerospace Employment Program. She and her
8-year-old son were so grateful and helped out when they could. They received
two twin bed sets, linens, lamps, a kitchen table, chairs, dishes, and much more.
It was an amazing day to be able to serve two families that truly needed help
after experiencing such tough times! Homelessness, as this team from Watkinson
saw, doesn’t just affect individual males or middle-aged people or any one
population; homelessness does not discriminate. Homelessness affects everyone.

Two New Grant Awards from Liberty Bank Foundation and the George & Grace Long Foundation

Journey Home was recently awarded two grants to support our work in the Greater Hartford Coordinated Access Network. Our thanks goes out to the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation for their grant of $3,000 and the Liberty Bank Foundation for their grant of $5,000. We are grateful to both of these area foundations for their commitment to our mission of ending homelessness. Their financial assistance will help us achieve our goal of ending chronic homelessness, ending homelessness for families and youth, and setting the path to end all homelessness.

Howey House

One of our partner agencies in the Central Coordinated Access Network,
Friendship Service Center, recently had a grand opening of a new housing
development site in New Britain. The 11-unit permanent supportive housing
program consists of 5 efficiencies and 6 one-bedroom units and the building is
named Howey House, after Greg Howey. Greg Howey was the chairman of the
board of Okay Industries who worked with former Mayor Timothy Stewart and
current Mayor Erin Stewart and headed the executive committee of the mayor’s
plan to end homelessness. Howey House, located on North Street, will be home
to 9 chronically homeless individuals and 2 disabled veterans as of October 1st.
This beautiful new property has been fully-furnished for some of our most
vulnerable clients. For some, this may be their first apartment ever. Friendship
Service Center reached out to the community and received donations from
bedding to cleaning supplies. Case management is offered on-site and there will
be events such as movie nights hosted by Friendship Service Center. The
building also has a community room and a media room for the residents to use.

Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, July 25th a number of Connecticut’s homeless service and
housing providers held meetings with Connecticut’s Congressional
representatives on Capitol Hill to highlight our statewide effort to end
homelessness, share client success stories, and advocate for federal homeless
response resources. The delegation for the National Alliance to End
Homelessness Capitol Hill Day included representatives from the Connecticut
Coalition to End Homelessness, Partnership for Strong Communities, Columbus
House, Salvation Army-Waterbury, New Reach and our Executive Director here
at Journey Home, Matt Morgan.

During conversations with housing legislative staffers in the offices of both
Senators and our Congressional representatives, a number of important issues
were highlighted. The group was sure to point out the fact that our housing and
homeless assistance programs are working. This year, participants focused on
some key priorities such as funding for the Department of Housing and Urban
Development’s McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Grants and continued
funding for rental assistance and affordable housing programs.
One of the key lessons from Capitol Hill Day was that our voices are needed
more than ever, and it is imperative that we let Congress know how important
federal funding is to ending homelessness.

The Power of Shelter Diversion and the People Behind It

In Central Connecticut, Community Health Resources (CHR) whose name embodies their commitment to community-based care, as well as instilling hope for a healthy, happy and productive future, and utilization of all available resources to achieve change. CHR has committed to practice these core values when, in November of 2017, they took on the challenge to fill the need as Central Connecticut’s Shelter Diversion Center provider.

According to Connecticut’s Department of Housing and Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Connecticut Shelter Diversion can be described as: a strategy that prevents homelessness at the front door of the homelessness response system by helping people identify immediate alternative housing arrangements and, if necessary, connecting them with services and financial assistance to help them return to permanent housing.

Shelter Diversion is a strategy that takes a tremendous amount of active listening, strengths exploration and motivation from both the client and the diversion specialist. CHR’s Diversion Center is currently staffed by one full-time diversion specialist who covers Bristol, Plainville, New Britain, Southington and Berlin as a catchment area. CHR’s Diana Berube is known in the community as “Diversion Superwoman”. She has been quoted as being ambitious, kindhearted and empathetic. Clients who have attended a Central Coordinated Access Network (CAN) appointment, leave with better clarity on how they will move forward out of their current situation. It is known that Diana creates an environment that exudes compassion. This is beneficial when a client’s defenses are high, they are out of options and seeking assistance. Therefore, when Diana is asked what she loves most about being “Diversion Superwoman”, she humbly states, “being able to break down the defenses of individuals to trust me enough to assist them in their time of desperation.”

Being an outreach worker for the City of Bristol, prior to her role with CHR, Diana received first-hand experiences on the hardships that would force someone into homelessness or housing instability. That is why she has dedicated herself to not be “just another resource” but hope and encouragement for those who come to see her seeking assistance. Because of this, Diana will tell anyone, that one of her biggest challenges with her role is not always being able to assist the client immediately or if at all. She credits her supervisor, Angela Easterling, for providing tremendous support and an ear or shoulder when she is presented with clients that trigger emotions because of their circumstances. Diana also credits CHR’s Rapid Rehousing Case manager, Rosa DeJesus, for her linkage to effective communication and is grateful for times she steps away from her own caseload to assist with translating when needed.

Diana will be the first to say that being the only Diversion Specialist is not an easy task, but the support she receives from CHR makes it all worthwhile. It is clear that CHR upholds their mission, which is to help adults, children, and families find Real Hope for the challenges of Real Life.

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