May 2021

Housing is a Human Right
Notes from the Board

  • The Board's regular meeting will be on Monday, May 10. Here are the highlights of our agenda:

  • A presentation by Becky Miglioratti, the Community Homeless Coordinator at DHS.
  • Updates on a permanent home for REACH
  • Regular committee and financial reports.
REACH will hold our first Annual Meeting on
Monday, September 13 at 4:30 p.m. at the new
REACH Home and Drop in Center,
720 W.Main Street.
Details to follow. Plan to enjoy the festivities.
REACH welcomes Deborah McKinzie who is joining our Development Committee.
A native to Rochester NY, early in her career, Deb spent 15 years in Southern California where she established Children’s Garden Montessori School, raising funds to allow children in need to attend the school tuition free.
She returned to Rochester in the early ‘90s and served as a fundraiser for local colleges for more than 20 years and is happy to be working with REACH - an organization that will bring real change to her hometown.
REACH Board is looking for an Assistant Secretary to help give the REACH secretary relief from her current load. If you are interesting in helping REACH in this way please let us know at [email protected].
Shelter Committee
The REACH Shelter Committee continues to work hard to meet the needs of people living in extreme poverty with housing instability through supporting a walking social work outreach team and solidifying plans for a long-term community center.
The REACH Meal Volunteers have become a critical part of the success of the walking social work team and the hotel emergency shelter. REACH provides 80 lunches a week for 4 days of walking outreach in the North Clinton and Jefferson Ave areas. Many of the bags being handed out not only have great lunches, but are also decorated by volunteers. This personal touch is greatly appreciated by the people receiving the lunches. Recently, a man pulled an empty decorated lunch bag out of his pocket. It was decorated with crayon and stickers. While tearing up, he reported that he had been holding onto it because seeing it “gives me hope each day. I know there are good people out there. Sometimes you forget when you are struggling”.  The home cooked meals brought to the emergency hotel shelter on Saturday Evenings also has an inestimable impact. The REACH Meal Volunteers not only provide a basic human need, they also consistently demonstrate true caring to some of the most vulnerable members in our community.
            The REACH Shelter Committee is also looking forward to finalizing a lease of a facility for long-term use. This facility will be a dynamic service platform that can adapt to the needs of the neighborhoods around it. It will bring providers in to provide low-barrier services, and act as a temporary winter shelter, as needed. An example of this buildings adaptability will be the possible usage as a vaccine site for people with barriers to obtaining the vaccine. As vaccinations begin to plateau, it will be vital to reach people with vaccine hesitancy and other barriers to receiving the vaccine.
            The REACH Shelter Committee is grateful for all our partners and all the volunteers. All of these individual acts of kindness add up to a profound impact on our community.
Andy Carey

For more information and to consider volunteering for our winter shelter please contact Deb Peiffer.
The Tiny Home Committee

Are you a fan of the Tiny Home project? We are in search of new members who might like to become a part of our committee. We meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. We are looking for people who are excited about this project of building Tiny Homes and creating a village for persons experiencing homelessness. If you have an interest in joining this Committee please let us know at [email protected].
This month we are welcoming Barbara Rivera to our group. Barbara is now an organizer with the City Wide Tennant's Union. She has two children, Jaden and Jordyn (see photo's below). She had life changing moments with the Center for Youth program. She is a poet, musician, writer, and speaker. Here is what she says about joining the Tiny Home Committee:

"I'm so excited to see the new Tiny Homes Community being put on St Paul St. It is so wonderful to see something like this being built for our homeless community. I see this as a positive step towards getting our Homeless a sense of having their own home and knowing they'll be off the stand on their way to something permanent just brings joy to my heart. As someone who has been homeless more than once,I know first hand how the system can make it hard for our Houseless neighbors to find housing. Im very happy to be a part of the committee who is taking the steps to get our folks somewhere to start."
New Founding Members this past month donated $1,832.90. Thank you! This brings the total donation by our Founders to the Tiny Home Village Fund to $46,222.67. Can you help us get this amount to $50,000 in May?
We need four gifts of $1,000.
Eight gifts of $500.
Here are this month's new Founding donors:

 Genesee Co-op Natural Food Store/Abundance Food Co-op
Canandaigua National Community Foundation
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, $126,863 toward our target of $250,000 for the building of the first phase of our Tiny Home Village. WE ARE HALF WAY THERE!!!
Community Engagement:

  • Flyer distribution, May 10 - 15

  • Neighborhood meetings:
May 22 at 2:00 p.m. at 1179 St. Paul St.
May 24 or 26 at 5:30 p.m. place to be determined. Check our Facebook page for latest news.

We will need help with snacks and drinks for these meetings. Please email [email protected] if you are able to assist.
Advocacy Opportunities etc.
What is the root of Advocacy?

Recently I have been reflecting on the root of our efforts to be advocates for housing justice. I asked myself what is the impetus for this work in my life? As I reflected more and more deeply, I found that the root source of my passion for advocacy was in the gratitude that I feel for the many ways in which my life has been gifted. Gratitude is not about paying my debt to society, but a profound recognition that all that I am, and all that I have, did not come solely from hard work. It is an attitude that sees all aspects of life as gift.

One of my teachers once said, "gratitude is the foundational source of worship."
I agree and it is the base element that gives to me a sense of living purposively in a world that is a gift to all of us! My journey toward gratitude began in my teens when I became a follower of Jesus. Now at 81 this journey has been a lifelong discovery of the power of love to shape this life of gratitude.

But I also observe that not all are able to get in touch with this base element. All around me I see people deprived of even the basic needs for survival. It is from this sense of gratitude that springs the passion to do what I can so that all persons are treated with dignity and justice. Because I see my own home as a gift, that leads me to believe that everyone should be offered the chance to have a place to call home. I am part of REACH because out of gratitude for my many blessings it is one way I can give recognition to life as a gift.

Please consider joining REACH to advocate for housing justice as an act of gratitude for your many blessings. REACH believes that Housing is a Human Right.
Peter W. Peters, Co-Chair of REACH Advocacy Inc.

Advocacy Actions and Opportunities:
  • Last month REACH was added as a signature to this letter to the NYS legislature.

  • Support VOCAL-NY's campaign to demand that the NYS Legislature finish the unfinished business of housing justice. VOCAL is an ally with REACH on the Rochester Housing Justice Alliance. To see what you can do look at this document from Kim Smith, VOCAL organizer for Western NY. REACH Board has already signed a letter of support for VOCAL's legislative initiative, but it always helps to have individual effort as well.

  • Learn about Mayor Warren's proposed Housing Trust Fund and see if it will meet the needs of our population of those experiencing chronic homelessness or will it support social or cooperative ownership? Watch for an attend focus groups to give voice to this concern.

  • Consider joining the City Wide Tenant Union our ally at the Rochester Housing Justice Alliance as a volunteer willing to canvas tenants to encourage them to become active in accessing their rights as tenants. Learn more about CWTU at their Facebook page. If you can give some hours to help this vital cause send an email to Barbara Rivera or sign up on their web page. This movement is supporting tenants against unjust housing conditions by unscrupulous landlords.
Write a letter of thanks to NYS Senator, Samra Brouk, a former Board member of REACH. She has agreed to co-sponsoring a bill that will allow for fair taxation of properties owned by a Land Trust. This will benefit our ally on housing justice: City Roots Community Land Trust. The bill is S.3469 - A.5081. Thank Senator Brouk at [email protected]. And write your NYS Assembly person asking them to join in.
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].
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Thank you for your interest and support of REACH.
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