April 2021

Housing is a Human Right
Notes from the Board
  • Joe Di Fiore gave us a presentation on the City Roots Community Land Trust. Joe is now the Executive Director of CLT, and also one of the founders of this organization. He helped us to understand the role of Land Trusts in creating affordable and safe housing. CLT in its short lifespan - they began less than ten years ago - have created a number of rehabbed homes that are now owned by first time owners who have gone through a lot of mentoring to become home owners. CLT owns the land, and the homeowner owns the building. This way the property is kept from being priced by the market and allows for a more social understanding of housing. It was a truly impressive story, though hampered by a poor ZOOM connection! We are blessed to have Joe on the REACH Board.

  • We set the date for our very first Annual Meeting - Monday, September 13, time and place TBD.

  • At the request of the Development Committee and following a presentation by Marcia Reaver, a member of both the Development and the Tiny Home Committee, we agreed to have all of REACH documents housed in a Google Suite for non-profits so that all of us can have access to them; and we agreed to improve our donation collection system allowing our donors to make a quick and simple transaction on line. This donation system will soon be housed on our Web page.
Shelter Committee
The Shelter Committee is very pleased with the current community outreach efforts and the prospects of obtaining a long-term building for the shelter and community services:
  • The support the REACH Advocacy Volunteers have shown the “Outreach Zone” Teams from Father Tracy Advocacy Center and SWAN at Montgomery Center has been invaluable. The teams have been passing out lunches, hygiene items, clothing items, etc., the majority of which are donated by REACH Volunteers. Meeting people’s basic needs on the streets has created an ideal situation for building relationships with people in the North Clinton and Jefferson Ave areas. We hope to expand this concept.

  • Some of the expansion of the Outreach Zone concept may come out of the new REACH Advocacy facility at 720 West Main St. We had a very solid meeting with the Coptic Community and are looking forward to the possibility of starting services in the building at the beginning of July. Still a few more steps to go, but it is close.

  • The 720 West Main St. building may begin as a vaccination site with some other services in the building then transition into a winter shelter. We are also excited to see what possibilities the Federal Relief Act funding may present. We are hopeful REACH will have an impact on the changing service environment as our community begins to work its way out of the pandemic.
            Much more to come…. 
Congratulations to Dimitri House our former landlords! After three years of heavy lifting they have successfully obtained funding for the renovation of the house that we used for two years as our winter shelter. They are now ready to receive the new occupants of six well appointed apartments.

Our good friends at McCollaborative will be playing a significant role in placing people in these apartments.

Here are some photos from the tour a few of us REACH folk were given by Laurie Prizel, the Executive Director of Dimitri House. Included in these photos are Laurie in all grey, Marj Matsky, Deb Peifer, Sarah Peters, and Jeanette Creighton.
The Tiny Home Committee

Here is the latest architect's rendition of our proposed Village by Roger Langer of Greater Living Architecture.
GREAT NEWS! We have received notice of a major gift from
St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
They have committed $75,000 to the Tiny Home Village to be paid over three years. Thank you to the people of St. Paul's for this generosity which comes on top of years of supporting our Shelter.
Celebrate Earth Day and help us with a Spring Clean up of the future site for the Tiny Home Village. Come to 1179 St. Paul Street on April 21 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Bring leaf and stone rakes, spades, trash bags, gloves, and trimming tools for shrubs and vines. And bring water and refreshments. Please contact John Curran at 585-747-2324 for more details.
New Founding Members this past month donated $2,130. Thank you! This brings the total donation by our Founders to the Tiny Home Village Fund to $44,390. Can readers help us get this amount to $50,000 in May?
Here are this month's new Founding donors:
Spencerport United Methodist Church
John Curran
Suzanne and James Korneliusen
St. George’s Episcopal Church, Hilton
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rochester
We have a long way to go, but these Founders have voted in favor of our Tiny Home Village as a way to offer truly affordable and supportive housing to housing deprived men and women of our community.

If you would like to become a Tiny Home Village Founder by making a donation of $250 or more, please send your check to REACH Advocacy, P.O. Box 10845, Rochester, NY 14610 and mark your check "Tiny Home Fund". Thank you, every gift helps us to get to our goal.

As of today we have from our Founders and others, $125,030.04 toward our target of $250,000 for the building of the first phase of our Tiny Home Village. WE ARE HALF WAY THERE!!!
Consider volunteering 2 hours of your time as we organize for two neighborhood presentations about our proposed Tiny Home Village. We need teams to visit in the neighborhood to hand out flyers during the week of May 10. Full details will be in the May Newsletter.
Advocacy Opportunities etc.
What do we mean by Advocacy?
We are doing advocacy when any REACH associate:
  • Greets and treats all those who enter our shelter as guests.
  • Serves food in a way that creates community among our guests.
  • Encourages each guest to make their best choices as modeled by our social workers.
  • Models what it means to respect the dignity of each person by our staff.
  • Helps to provide for safety and support for the entire program by our Board and our donors.
  • Welcomes people who have experienced homelessness to our board or committees.
  • Joins in writing to our legislators for more just housing policies.
  • Invites REACH to do a presentation in their community.
  • Becomes more informed about the housing deprived and homelessness.
  • Does whatever we can to affirm that housing is a human right.

If we are to change the system that currently perpetuates homelessness we all need to become advocates. No matter how small a part you are playing, you are advocating for justice for those who are experiencing homelessness.

Each month we highlight some specific action or event that helps to change the narrative around housing and/or housing justice. Here are some opportunities for you to consider:
  • Last month we wrote letters in support of NY Vocal's campaign to ask NYS legislators to sign on to  Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP) and Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act (HONDA).

  • We recommend to you the recent report from a coalition of housing activists: A New Deal for Housing Justice: A Housing Playbook for the New Administration. This thoughtful compendium of policy suggestions brings together a number of suggested critical changes to make the Federal role in housing justice more equitable and effective, especially for those, mostly Indigenous, Black, and Hispanic families, who have been denied equity in housing for decades. Readers might consider recommending this as a vital resource to your respective federal legislative leadership. To see the report click here. It is a lengthy series of recommendations, but in the course of reading this playbook you will learn a good deal of the critical issues if we are to make access to housing a more just matter.

  • Do you enjoy doing research? Consider taking on a research project to answer any of these questions:
  • How many home units have been constructed in the past 10 years in our region for people living at or less that 30% of the Area Median Income?
  • How many total housing units are there for those living with very low incomes?
  • How many families or individuals are living on very low incomes (at or below 30% AMI) in our region?

Why this research is important: In 2018 the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported that in Rochester there were only 33 units available for every 100 very low income families. We need to learn if there has been any significant shift in these numbers.

If interested, contact us at [email protected].
Please consider sponsoring a REACH presentation in your faith community or other organization. We have presentations on The History of REACH, The Tiny Home Village project, and "The Housing Crisis and Communities of Faith". For information and to book a date for any of these, contact our Secretary, Sarah Peters at [email protected].
REACH is looking for a Newsletter editor. If you enjoy putting together a monthly newsletter and would be willing to donate the time and creativity to REACH, please let us know. Some experience with Constant Contact is desirable.

Send details of your experience to [email protected].

Thank you for your interest and support of REACH.
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