Notes from the Board

  • The REACH Board had a positive and interactive meeting on Monday October 11th. Andy Carey presented on the definition of chronically homeless individuals. This stimulated conversation around the chronically homeless in the Rochester Community and REACH’s mission to serve the difficult to shelter and house in our community.

  • Stephanie Buchbinder joined us to present on the development plan. Stephanie’s thoughts on development were warmly received by the board. The Development Committee is helping move REACH Advocacy into the future with solid development planning.

  • A special thank you to Stacey Rothfuss for taking the minutes for the Board Meeting in Sarah Peters’ absence.

Shelter Report
Closing in on a Lease: The Shelter Committee continues to close in on a lease for 720 West Main Street with the Coptic Christian Community. John Curran is steadily working on the interior in preparation for use as a community center aimed at assisting the many disenfranchised in our community, especially the housing deprived.

Expanding Our Reach: On an exciting note, the shelter committee is discussing plans for assisting the hard to shelter people in our community this winter. REACH Advocacy was originally founded to shelter the people in our community who have difficulty staying in the regular shelter system. REACH Advocacy will be very active this winter. More to come very soon!

Remembering Our Dear Friend, John: The Shelter Committee has lost a wonderful volunteer, John Herrman (see our article remembering John at the end of this newsletter). Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and all the people he touched. John will be sorely missed by all.
McQuaid Jesuit Students Volunteer with REACH: We were recently joined by McQuaid students for a fifth year. Fifteen students volunteered to improve the cosmetics of our 720 W Main property, owned by the Coptic Christian Community. This space will be used to develop a Community Clearinghouse to address the communities most urgent needs. 

The students paused for a discussion on their volunteer work and reflected with their group leaders before returning by bus back to school. Thank you to the McQuaid students and all the members of the Rochester community who support REACH’s mission.
REACH Advocacy, Inc. will NOT operate an emergency wintertime shelter at 720 West Main this year due to COVID-19 social distancing concerns.

REACH will continue, however, to serve the homeless in the upcoming season based on adapting to evolving circumstances.
Tiny Home News

New Committee Members: We welcomed three people to the committee this month. Once again we have a full staff of volunteers.

In the News: Channel 13 news anchor Ginny Ryan reported a well-written update on our project. You can view it if you click here.

Survey Update: LaBella and Associates completed the Phase I Environmental Report., which found no areas of concern. We filed the report with the City. The next step is to determine soil stability and viability by test hole drilling.

Workforce Development with Edison Tech: We reached a verbal agreement with Edison Tech to engage their construction skills students to work on our project for the next three years. This opportunity will help city youth on their path to becoming the next generation of contractors and construction workers. We are crafting a written agreement and writing grants to fund this portion of the project.

City Planning Commission: We submitted comments to the City Planning Commission informing them of the need to include Tiny Homes in a cluster to address homelessness, which is in the 2034 Comprehensive Plan. Their charge is that the Zoning Alignment Plan parallels the Comprehensive Plan. We are hopeful they will make this addition.
Tiny Home Village Building Fund
We are grateful to our Tiny Home Village Founders who continue to donate to the Tiny Homes project.

We received notification of an Episcopal Mission Grant of $7,500 to be paid out quarterly during 2022. Thank you!

You too can become a Founder of the REACH Tiny Home Village! Designate your year-end, tax deductible contributions to REACH Advocacy to support the Tiny Homes project and help us reach our goal of beginning construction in Spring 2022.

You can donate today by sending a check to REACH Advocacy, Inc., P.O. Box 10845, Rochester, NY 14610.

Please contact us if you or your faith community would like to contribute a larger gift to the Tiny Home Village. As has been reported, when we reach $250,000, the City will give us access to the land and we can begin construction.

Thank you to all of our donors and Founders who are helping us reach our goal.
Advocacy Opportunities and Current Events

The Sanctions Bill:
Many of our REACH guests suffer from the way sanctions are imposed in Monroe County. Empire Justice continues to push for Governor Hochul to sign the bill and reform the benefits sanction process.

In their recent newsletter, Empire Justice shares the impact this could have on individuals throughout the state of New York. 

Take Action to End Homelessness:
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is asking for individuals to send a letter to their Member of Congress to help secure critical affordable housing investments in the Build Back Better Bill.

A reconciliation bill to has been drafted by the House of Representatives. In this bill, $327 billion would be invested in affordable housing, including dollars allocated to rental assistance, public housing preservation efforts, and the national Housing Trust Fund. However, opposing views are pushing to reduce investments from $327 billion to $40 billion.

Stabilize Rochester Campaign:
Rent is on the rise and in January, the eviction moratorium will end. The Rochester City-wide Tenant Union is putting pressure on City Council so thousands of Rochesterians can avoid homelessness. Learn more with the Stabilize Rochester Campaign
REACH continues to endorse the City Wide Tenants Union's Stabilize Rochester Campaign. CWTU is a grass roots organization that gives collective voice to those most impacted by housing in justice.

To learn more about this campaign please read CWTU's information sheets and consider taking action with them.

Remembering John Herrman - Our dear friend and supporter
John Herrman
It started at Sanctuary Village in 2014. The tent city for the homeless had been bulldozed and House of Mercy opened a make-shift shelter in a donated warehouse on Canal Street. John walked into that warehouse. Kelly Finnigan and Cornell were helping to run the warehouse shelter. Both of them were unsure of what to make of John (the only people walking into the warehouse unannounced were people looking for shelter), so they asked how they could help. John just looked at them and said he was there to help. That was the beginning of John’s legacy.

For the next six years, anyone who was around the various REACH shelters and initiatives would likely see John, Cornell, and Ava (John’s dog) working on some project. Countless doors, stairs, banisters, etc. were created, or fixed, by this amazing team. All of this work was concrete and easy to see how it helped REACH. More importantly was all the intangible things John brought to the table.

John was the essence of kindness, optimism, persistence, and faith. These qualities are what made John great. It is hard to articulate all that John meant to REACH and the people REACH has served. Simply put, John gave of himself with no expectation of reward, or recognition, and was greatly loved by the people around him. We were all honored to have known him and will truly miss his physical presence.