Shelter Committee Updates
Meet Our Guests:

This month we're featuring our REACH Home guest, Kenneth Lawrence. Peter Peters, Co-Chair at REACH, sat down with Kenneth to learn more about his life.
Kenneth Lawrence is a 57 year old man who has spent most of his adult life in prison. In meeting Kenneth, Peter describes him as a gentle spirit with thoughtful insights from his life experiences.

Shelter Updates:

The 2021-22 Emergency Shelter Season is going by quickly. All three homes are at capacity, or slightly above. We have an incredible system of volunteers, interns, volunteer staff, and social workers. The logistics are more complicated this year, but have been working. The guests have found the new emergency housing system with individual rooms to be much more comfortable. It is more dignified and has led to much better symptom management for the guests. This is certainly a model that should be followed in the future, as much as possible.
The groundbreaking work of having the first LGBTQ+ site has been exceptional. The house has been running very well and the guests all report being happy to have a “safe” place to shelter. Emergency Shelter has always been difficult for the LGBTQ+ Community in Rochester. We are pleased to have the opportunity to fill that community need.

Finding housing has been more difficult this year for many reasons; we have had fewer subsidies, less housing, landlords are screening harder, and many units are not habitable, or without a certificate of occupancy. That being said, REACH is permanently housing guests. The interns and staff are also focused on building support networks for the guests while they are staying with us. This has also been going well. We look to continue this work through the close of the shelter at the end of April.

The Shelter Committee has been holding meetings, as well. We are looking to finalize our shelter committee charge for the Board and a sub-committee is working on our vision for the future before the April Board Meetings. The sub committees have been established to accomplish these goals.

Donations Needed:

Operating scattered sites requires many supplies so we are always looking for donations. We have included a list of our most needed items if you would like to help. In addition, we have an Amazon gift registry Click the photo below to open as a PDF, download, and share.

As always, we appreciate your continued support.  If you have any questions, you can direct them to

Tiny Home Village News
The committee was busy during the past month. Our list of accomplishments includes: 

  • Submitting two grant proposals which, when combined, will build one Tiny Home
  • Receiving the completed site survey for the property at 2-12 Clarence Park
  • Meeting with Planning and Zoning to discuss a pathway for support of the project through variances
  • Signing contracts for both the Site Plan and the Phase I Environmental Assessment
  • Meeting with our architect to update him on our progress and request a formal quote for a complete set of plans
  • Sharing learned experiences with Tiny Home Villages in Columbus, OH, and Bozeman, MT
  • Meeting with the City Council Chair of Neighborhood and Business Development to gain support for the project as we move forward.
  • Preparing for our next round of Community Engagement when we will distribute fliers to 300 households in the nearby neighborhood

Due to vacation schedules, we do not have a Founder’s report this month. We will update everyone in the next newsletter for both months.
You can become a founder by donating $250 or more to the REACH Tiny Home Village. You will find instructions on our website. Please specify you are designating your donation to the Tiny Home Village. With your permission, we will recognize your contribution in the newsletter.

Advocacy Committee
Meet our new Chair of the Advocacy Team:

Rudy Rivera is the Executive Director of the Fr. Tracy Advocacy Center on Clifford Avenue.  Rudy has been a REACH Board member for over a year now.  He brings to his work with REACH a deep passion for justice in the care of those who have fallen on hard times.  As the director of the Fr. Tracy Center, he can be found at the door of the center greeting and assisting people on the street who need support as they struggle with whatever demons are plaguing them at the time. He greets every person with respect and with a warm welcome.  No one is turned away.
Rudy, as the chair of Advocacy, wants to make the voices and the needs of the people he meets heard by the power brokers of our city.  He asks, “How can we not ignore the needs of people who are without shelter or safe homes in this wealthy city?”

The Advocacy team meets every other week and is currently planning on meeting with members of the City Council to deepen the conversation around housing vulnerability in Rochester.

Rudy introduced us to a compelling account of homeless women in the Washington, DC area. He shared Elliot Liebow’s Tell Them Who I Am: The Lives of Homeless Women. Though the book was written twenty years ago, Rudy is angry that we are still dealing with the issues found in this book. It is a powerful narrative of the kinds of day-to-day issues faced by those who are homeless.  At the end of the book, the author offers two propositions concerning homelessness:

  • Proposition No 1: “Homeless people are homeless because they do not have a place to live.”  (p. 223)
  • Proposition No 2: “Homelessness is rooted hard and deep in poverty…. homelessness is not an individual matter at all. Homelessness today is a social class phenomenon, the direct result of a steady, across-the-board lowering of the standard of living of the American working class and lower class…. (p.224)
Rudy asks, “How come we are still asking the same questions about homelessness twenty years later?”

If you would like a Zoom link to the Committee meetings, please email Rudy at
Shelter Theology: The Religious Lives of People without Homes, by Susan J. Dunlap, and published by Fortress Press, 2021. In this book Dunlap explores the spirituality she found while working as a chaplain with people without homes. In several ways she documents how those without homes may have something to say to those who have their own homes.

Thank you to our readers!
We are grateful for your continued support of REACH Advocacy, Inc.