matters Fall 2011 Health, Homes and Jobs for Homeless New Yorkers SCOTT MCDONALD’S JOURNEY TO ALBANY “I’m a person not a pie chart.”S cott McDonald stood on the George Washington Bridge in the middle ofwinter, exhausted and alone. “There isnothing else for me in life, I am done.”He stood on the bridge for three or four Who Cares? I Do.hours. “I seriously considered going offthe bridge. I would put my foot on the Supporters Rally to Preserve Safety Netrailing then put it down.” After living a “normal American life,”Scott lost his marriage, home, and jobwhen pressures drove him to alcoholism I n a fight to preserve the safety net for vulnerable New Yorkers, Project Re- newal staff, clients, and partners made nately, emergency shelter is currently the fastest-growing part of the homeless system. Investment in supportive hous-and depression. The low point came their voices heard when proposed state ing and other solutions help clients exitthe day he stood on that bridge. “I gave and city budgets threatened to cut or the revolving door between the streetseverything away and had nothing left. eliminate life-saving programs. Proposed and institutions.At the end of it I decided to take a walk cuts would have made it more difficult While the State budget was on timeinstead. I checked into Bellevue. But for clients to find a path out of poverty and balanced, it did not contain muchit wasn’t until I got to Project Renewal and homelessness. In a unified effort to good news for low-income and homelessthat I tried to start dealing with things.” draw attention to our plight, we joined New Yorkers. All the same, the advocacy Our Fort Washington Men’s Shelter the Human Services Council’s Who was successful in convincing the Statewas there for Scott at the lowest point Cares? I Do campaign to raise awareness to allow the establishment of behavioralin his life. Shelter Director Etta Graham about the budget impact. A series of ral- health organizations and special needsvoiced the importance of the program lies, letter-writing campaigns, and trips managed care plans for individuals withthat helped Scott and so many others to meet legislators in Albany delivered a mental illness. The fight was also criticallike him. “Our shelter provides a place strong message on behalf of those who in convincing the State to invest in awhere people can begin to rebuild their are easily ignored or forgotten. new rental subsidy program to be devel-lives one goal at time. The services that Project Renewal advocates pointed oped jointly by the City and the State.each staff provides to the men that are out that proposed cuts for shelters and In the City budget, the news was better.in our care are invaluable and to have rent subsidies would have cost govern- Project Renewal was able to preservethese services cut or reduced would not ment a lot more to deal with the result- medical and psychiatric services in ouronly affect the men, but it will affect ing crisis of homelessness than it would shelters which are critical for helpingall of us in the Human Services world. to invest in helping people to get stable residents regain their physical andOur main goal in the shelter is to help housing, employment and help with mental health. In addition, funding wasour clients re-capture their humanness addiction or mental illness. The elimina- continued for case management servicesand decrease the stigma that is attached tion of rental subsidies would just cause for people living with HIV/AIDS in our continued on page 1 the shelter system to grow. Unfortu- supportive housing residences.
Scott McDonald..continued from page 1 21st Annual Gala to being homeless, mentally ill, and poor by providing our clients supportive A Great Success! housing and services that will increase their self-worth.” Scott agrees. “What Fort Washing- ton did for me is I went from being foggy with no direction to being on a straight path. The people at Fort Washington were able to gently and respectfully get me back to where I can function with normalcy.” After renew- ing his life at Fort Washington, Scott From Left: Gala Chair Jim Davidson, Board Chair Neil Mitchell, McDonald fought to save the programs News Anchor Erika Tarantal, President & CEO Mitchell Netburn. that saved his life. Speaking in Albany, Scott urged legislators and state officialsO n June 9th, over 250 guests Our Keynote Speaker, Geffner to protect funding for homeless services. gathered for our 21st Annual House chef Octavia Penn, shared her “I never thought I would have gone Gala Benefit & Auction at the personal story from a life of addiction to Albany in my past life, but now IWaldorf=Astoria. The event raised over to a life of culinary creations through would. It was vital for them to see a$770,000 to fund life-saving programs Comfort Foods and the Culinary Arts person there instead of pie charts andto help homeless men and women leave Training Program. “Project Renewal numbers.”the streets and return to health, homes, gave me a chance; they believed in me. Iand jobs. feel good today. I’m clean, I’m focused, Guests won fabulous auction items, and I’m doing something I love. Project HELP A CLIENTsipped cocktails, savored delicious Renewal is second chances.”cuisine, and embraced the mission of Thank you to our corporate sponsor TAKE THE NEXTProject Renewal. NBC News Anchor Capital One Bank and everyone whoErika Tarantal emcee’d the program and helped make the evening a success: pa- STEP TO A JOBChristie’s auctioneer Brian McComak trons, auction prize donors, volunteers, Next Step has pre-screened andinspired lively bidding. and Trustees. motivated job candidates seeking jobs in maintenance, food service, stock room, construction, customer service, and more… If you’re hiring or able to able to make an introduction to a hiring manager, call now. Monica Roquitte, Next Step Guests bid generously in Live Auction. Octavia Penn Program Director 212-620-0340 ext. 355 From Left: Mark Kraehling Trustee Ashley Venetos (center) Trustee Geoffrey Proulx (center) and Steven Jones, Project with guests. with Elizabeth and Alvaro Ortiz. Renewal CFO.2 Project Renewal matters | Fall 2011
IT’S A KNOCKOUT: Culinary Arts Training Program Graduate Wins a Job at Iron Chef’s Top NYC RestaurantL aura Ramirez was a Golden job in mind: to be a chef in one of the Gloves championship boxer as a city’s top restaurants. With her resume Iron Chef Marc Forgione (right) with Culinary Arts high school student in the Bronx, and her determination, Laura went Chef Instructor Anthony O’Connor.but when it came to a career, she hung from one restaurant to another, literallyup the gloves and put on the chef ’s hat. knocking on the door and asking if the the Culinary Arts graduation in MayLaura was referred by VESID, a state chef was hiring. Fifty restaurants later, and continues to thrive on the job. “Iemployment services agency, to the Laura knocked on the door of Marc am very fortunate to be in the positionCulinary Arts Training Program last fall. Forgione, owner & chef at Restaurant that I am in today. Working with MarcAfter excelling in the classroom train- Marc Forgione on Reade Street and Forgione and his staff, I learn somethinging, she began a 3 month internship at 2010 winner of the Food Network’s new every day. I’m grateful for ProjectAIG’s corporate dining room. Many Iron Chef. Marc was impressed and Renewal staff and my classmates forstudents are hired at the place where hired Laura as a “garde manger” or salad never giving up on me and pushing methey intern, but Laura had a different person. Laura invited her new boss to to work harder.” Friday Morning Job Club Gives Clients a Boost N ext Step Job Placement is understanding of the employer’s per- and the Hotel Association of New giving clients a boost in this spective by explaining what skills and York. In the first six weeks of the club, tough economic climate positions employers are seeking, how nine clients obtained employment, through the Friday Morning Job Club. to apply for them, and what employers 15 were accepted into Metro Scan- The biweekly club helps motivate expect of their employees once they are ning’s training program (the successful clients and connect them to employers hired. completion of which guarantees well from targeted industries. It encourages Some of the employers hosted paid employment with the company) clients to network and communicate include Affinity Health Plan, Geffner and 26 clients are in the process of with potential employers. Professionals House, Metro Scanning (a not-for- applying for various positions with Af- from fields like Human Resources host profit Social venture), Shamrock/ finity Health Plan. the club. They help enhance clients’ EDC, the Third Street Men’s ShelterProject Renewal matters | Fall 2011 3
It’s Time to Move In at Board of Trusteesthe New Fletcher Street Neil S. MitchellResidence ChairC onstruction is complete at our newest residence in the Bronx andwe’re getting ready to welcome 105 new Susan M. Akselrad Pamela J. Bell Alan Belzer Russell S. Bermantenants in this supportive housing devel- Suzanne Henry Boiesopment. One wing includes 55 studio Colleen Cavanaugh James S. Davidsonapartments for mentally-ill men and Anthony S. Kendallwomen living independently. The other wing is a therapeutic community for 50 David J. Koeppelmen in recovery from alcohol and/or substance abuse. This model has proven effec- The Honorable Richard B. Lowe, III Mark H. Mintertive because it is based on both individual and group counseling and a job program Earl Monroeat the Times Square Alliance. The new building helps to meet the growing demand Nan L. Perell Chuck Polfor affordable and safe housing for formerly homeless New Yorkers. Geoffrey Proulx Mary Lynn Putney Jules M. Ranz, M.D.Capital One Employees Claudia Rosen Carl S. RosoffVolunteer at Comfort Laura J. Rothschild James W. StevensFoods Caverly “Lee” Stringer Ashley Safronoff VenetosComfort Foods chefs had many helpinghands when Capital One employees Mitchell Netburnsigned up to volunteer in the kitchens President & CEOduring the bank’s “One Week” na- Junior Boardtionwide volunteer event. “The timing Christopher M. Bellapianta Colin Meaghercouldn’t have been better,” said Director Vijay Desiraju Keenan Reilly Scott Donohue David RowleyBarbara Hughes, “We usually rely on Brandl Frey Jenny SharfsteinCulinary Arts students to help the chefs Nicholas Hemmerly Nicholas Sklar Lilah Hume Christopher Smajdoras part of their training experience, but Jeffrey Kirshenbaum Amanda Tomasellothis was a week between Cycles when Robin Lee Frederick H. Volpthere were no classes and no studenthelp! We’re all grateful for the enthusiasm and energy that the 19 volunteers PROJECT RENEWALbrought to the kitchen. It took a lot of stress off our staff in getting thousands of 200 Varick Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10014meals prepped that week.” 212-620-0340 • www.projectrenewal.org Help homeless men and women leave the streets for health, homes and jobs…with your donation. It’s safe, fast and on-line at www.projectrenewal.org. Look for the “Donate Now” button on every page. Stay Informed with our E-Newsletter To follow the impact of your financial support of Project Renewal, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter at www.projectrenewal.org. You’ll meet some of the people like Scott McDonald whose lives are changed because of your support.4 Project Renewal matters | Fall 2011