In accordance with federal regulations, regions all across Connecticut have been working collaboratively over the past year to develop and implement a system that can provide wraparound services to all individual and households experiencing homelessness. Each of these regions is referred to as a Coordinated Access Network (CAN). The Greater Hartford Coordinated Access Network, made up of over 100 leaders from local organizations that work with the issue of homelessness, has been meeting weekly since May to operationalize this new wraparound system. On November 17th, 2014, this new Greater Hartford CAN system officially went live. The structure of the system focuses on a single “front door” for access to housing services. Currently, any individual or household facing a housing crisis will be directed to call 2-1-1, where they will speak with a housing specialist to assess their needs. If they are not in need of immediate services, they will have an appointment scheduled with one of the homeless services case managers in the region to discuss their situation and determine the best options available to meet their needs. If the household is in need of immediate shelter, 2-1-1 will communicate with regional shelters to locate an available shelter bed(s). The main goals of this coordinated entry system are to ensure that all households receive equal treatment when experiencing a housing crisis, to guarantee client-focused services are delivered that align the most relevant services to each individual circumstance, and to facilitate the ability to capture meaningful data from the first moment a household experiences a housing crisis and extending until they are once again stably housed.
On Friday, November 14th, over 120 college students, and members of faith groups from all over Greater Hartford joined together at Journey Home’s 2nd annual Cardboard City Sleep Out to learn about and raise awareness for the issue of homelessness. With the help of community partners Foodshare, the Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau, Goodwin College’s MOVE/WISE program, Hartford Food System’s Grow Hartford youth program, Hall High School’s Global Problem Solving class, and First Congregational Church of Vernon, participants were able to hear first-hand from people who have experienced homelessness, watch a documentary about homelessness within Hartford, and hear from local experts on issues of food insecurity and justice. Participants then headed outside to spend a very chilly night sleeping in cardboard boxes on the University of Hartford Student Union lawn. With temperatures staying below freezing on one of the coldest evenings of the season so far, students got a very tangible taste of just a few of the discomforts that so many of our neighbors who do not have a home to go to each night are forced to face.
As a kickoff to National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week—held each year the week before Thanksgiving—the event was a great way to address an issue that is so often overlooked, or defined by socially accepted stereotypes. The night’s activities enabled participants to recognize and express gratitude for the gifts that they have in life, while also encouraging empathy for those who are less fortunate. Participants challenged assumptions and invited change by taking a stand, signing letters to their government representatives, and committing to getting involved by volunteering at soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries, as well as for the upcoming Greater Hartford 100 Day Rapid Results Campaign.
You can watch a short video made by participating students here!
On Wednesday, November 5th over 300 people came together at the Bond Ballroom in Downtown Hartford to honor William H. Farley. Bill Farley has devoted the last 53 years working to help so many people, especially those most in need. As founder of Journey Home, he has selflessly applied himself to helping all people in Hartford to have a real place they can call home. Throughout his distinguished career, Bill Farley has held leadership roles in many organizations serving the Hartford area, including PAL (Police Athletic League), University of Hartford, University of St. Joseph, Watkinson School, St. Elizabeth House, House of Bread, Greater Hartford Prayer Breakfast, Hartford Seminary, St. Mary’s Church in Simsbury, and the Town of Simsbury. Bill built the Farley Company — now part of CBRE New England — into the largest commercial real estate firm in Connecticut. And for the past eight years, he has committed himself to ending homelessness by founding and guiding the development of Journey Home. Journey Home could not be more grateful for Bill’s tireless efforts and shared commitment to our mission, and we are overwhelmed by the support shown by the Greater Hartford community in thanking him for his work, and ensuring its continuation with the help of so many generous financial contributions to Journey Home. We would like to extend a heartfelt message of gratitude to all of our sponsors, donors, and attendees.
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.
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.
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.