Minutes from Social Service Agency Luncheon on August 27, 2010

This social service agency networking/information sharing meeting, hosted by Inasmuch Ministry, takes place on the last Friday of each month, January through October, and the first Friday in December, at Broadway Christian Church, 910 BroadwayLunch is provided and there is no cost to attend.  (Thanks to ladies from  Broadway and The Chapel for providing the delicious food today!) Please feel free to invite others whom you think would benefit from these hour-long, casual and informative luncheon meetings.

Next month’s meeting will be  Friday, September 24, 2010 at noon. Our speaker will be Tim Smith of the Salvation Army

There was no speaker this month. Here are all the attendees, with any updates they provided in our round-table discussion time:

Alyn Biddle, Inasmuch Ministry: Update on the Edge: We’re still learning all the difficulties of renovating an old building. The elevator installation alone is both costly and fraught with red tape. On the plus side, we have enough funds to do about half of the needed work right now. We still need to raise about $200,000. When the Edge is finished, Inasmuch will be able to serve up to 72 clients at one time (we are quite full now when half that many show up). We have a new brochure available now which details the project. We’re aiming for moving in by June of 2011.   Click here to read our August newsletter.

Lauren Nichols, Inasmuch Friday secretary and Artistic Director of all for One productions, inc. 2010-2011 season ready to launch. Three of the four plays this season deal with social issues with relevance to our community. Click on the link for more information about professional-quality, thought-provoking, values-rich entertainment at terrifically discounted prices ($40 season ticket for adults!! That’s a 33% savings over at-the-door prices).

Sue Ringle, Veterans Affairs. Reminded us of the upcoming Veterans’ Stand-Down on October 22, 2010.

From the Veterans Affairs website: “Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless veterans.  Stand Downs are typically one to three day events providing services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.  Stand Downs are collaborative events, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the homeless.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.  Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans, reaching more than 200,000 Veterans and their family members between 1994-2000.”

Plans are being made to hold walk-in hours for homeless veterans on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. This program is still pending. At the moment, veterans can go to the 5th floor of the VA hospital for social services; homeless vets can go there to make an appointment for assistance, if no one is available to help them at that time.

Pat Arnold, Catholic Charities. They are networking with all priests/parishes in the diocese and with all the townships, to avoid duplication of efforts in services, and to provide fuller services to the community.

Sharon Gerig, Fort Wayne Rescue Mission–Sharon is now the Shelter Supervisor, in addition to her work with the younger homeless men. The Shelter has been overrun recently, with huge nightly populations. The short-term program for those seriously looking for work and a place to live has 26 men in it. Beyond that, many men this month are sleeping on mattresses in the chapel some nights…which usually only happens in the winter. They are also seeing more men with mental illness, which they are not equipped to handle. They refer to Parkview Behavioral Health, but often the men are assessed and sent back. Budget cuts in the news lately will affect the Mission.

In other news, Charis House—the women’s shelter’s new facility–is now open, and is already full to its 76 bed capacity. Unfortunately, there is often no shelter for single women, since beds are first given to mothers with children. Charis House is regularly serving up to 130 people for breakfast/lunch, and from 175 to 240 for dinner. The old Charis House building is being repaired to sell.

For more information about the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, including their upcoming golf outing, click here.

Jamie Martin, Vincent Village, Inc. There are openings in the after-shelter programs (a few houses are available). Renovation is beginning on the downstairs of their main facility, which will affect all the residents and where meals are served. It will be a bit chaotic for awhile. After the downstairs renovations are finished, the upstairs will be done, a few rooms at a time. Vincent Village is also starting a daycare program.

Suzanne Giant, Community Volunteer

Lisa Smith, Arbor Education &Training, IMPACT. They are still collecting plastic bags to be crocheted into homeless mats; now they’re collecting yarn again for the hats/scarves program. Everything is going well. Contact Lisa at lisaasmith@arboret.com if you have material to donate, or a project for their trainees to complete.

Chris Maciejewski, Unto Others They need more volunteers in order to add hours of operation.  Contact director7@frontier.com to find out about volunteering with Unto Others.

Cassie Haugli, YWCA. She is part of the Steps to Success program, working with Mollie

Mollie Cripe, YWCA, mentioned that they have a Burmese advocate at the YWCA. They hold ESL and citizenship classes for Burmese immigrants. The Y also holds diversity dialogues once a month. This is a safe place to meet in our community to freely discuss what one has observed and/or experienced, and to learn more. The schedule of topics for the rest of the year is available here.

Debbie Smith, Homeless Taskforce. Debbie shared that she recently showed a Reading Rainbow episode on homelessness to a Sunday School class, about a penny drive. She observed that even little children can get excited about how they can help. Debbie passed out a survey for agencies to fill out, which can be mailed to a P.O. Box at the City-County Building, or emailed to Debbie or Jackie Young at hope4homeless.fw@gmail.com. If you didn’t receive an agency survey, please contact that email to receive one.

Debbie also passed out flyers for an important upcoming event: “link up”..Monday, September 13 from 10 AM to noon in the Omni Conference Room at the Fort Wayne City-County Building. This is a networking and connecting even for any agency that deals with homelessness in any way. Revisions to the ten-year plan to end homelessness will be reviewed. For more information contact Dr. Mary Etheart at etheart.hope.house@frontier.com OR Debbie Smith at hope4homeless.fw@gmail.com.

Martha Casselman, Love in Deed Sharehouse. Everyone is invited to the OPEN HOUSE on Friday, September 10, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, to tour their new larger facility on Bluffton Road in the former Clark & Mitchell building.

On a weekly basis, Sharehouse fills bulk orders of paper products, cleaning supplies, etc. at a 19 cents/lb. processing fee. Payment to Sharehouse is by check or money order ONLY. They do not accept cash or credit card.

In addition to regular weekly bulk orders, Sharehouse gets occasional shipments of goods on a one-time basis. (For example, right now they have a large number of bicycles.) To make these goods available, Sharehouse holds a “U-Pick” day, something like a flea market. The next one will be on Wednesday, September 15th. Representatives from non-profit groups can come and choose goods for their ministry or for their clients.

Martha would like to see much more consistent volunteering by partner organizations Sharehouse requires organizations to volunteer three hours in order to either a) receive a bulk order, or b) attend a U-Pick. That requirement could increase depending on volume of product purchased.

God has been blessing Sharehouse with many more goods ever since they have moved to their larger space. For example, a retail store recently donated new baby furniture which had been on display, and couldn’t be resold because someone had thrown away the boxes and paperwork. Sharehouse will put disclaimers on each item (e.g., bouncy seats, bassinets, strollers, etc.). Sharehouse goods do not ever have a warranty on them.

Andrew Hoffman, Neighborlink Fort Wayne. Innovative, web-based organization which captures the needs of clients from other organizations on one comprehensive list. Such needs as home repairs, auto repair, lawn maintenance, snow removal, etc. are listed, and then personally selected by volunteers who complete the projects–255 of which have been done already this year. Andrew mentioned the ongoing relationships which often develop between volunteers and clients as one of the most positive side benefits of the organization. A group of 15-20 retired men now get together 1-2 days per week to work on neighborlink projects. Volunteers choose directly what project to handle. This is an excellent resource for clients whose needs fall outside the parameters of social service agencies’ ability to help. Keep Neighborlink in mind when dealing with client homeowners who are physically or financially unable to do needed work on their homes.

Laura Pflueger, Healthier Moms and Babies. This organization serves pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and up to the baby’s 1st birthday. Expectant moms should sign up before their 30th week of pregnancy. Services include one home visit per month. The program has openings now, but with school starting, they anticipate being full again soon, as area nurses refer pregnant high school students.

**EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Laura herself is going on maternity leave this fall. She is looking for a temporary replacement, someone with social work background to work 30 hours per week/October through January. Experience in maternity counseling would also be helpful. If you or someone you know is interested, have them send a resume to: SEdington@fwmep.edu

Marilynn Hormann , Community volunteer.

Katie Elsass, Adams Township. They have experienced a decrease in traffic this summer. Katie expressed frustration regarding people who have received bad information about the Township. (This results in false assumptions about the Township’s willingness to help in specific situations.) If you’re not sure what services the Towship provides, please ask.

They are required to abide by state statutes, which provide standards/guidelines for what services they are allowed to cover. Primary needs are food, shelter, clothing and medical. If the client has used available money to pay non-primary expenses, it is possible that the Township will have to deny assistance for a period of time.

Please note: Adams Township gives out bus passes for job search, and also has in house computer job search programs.

Debra Freeman, Adams Township. East Allen County Resource Center is seeking Board Members. There is a fund drive coming for a new playground (the Maplecrest extension project cut into the old one.)

Tim Smith. Salvation Army. 1,712 kids were served through the backpack program last week. Most ever! Their Christmas program will be discussed next month.

Laurisa Roper, CANI