Notes from the Board:

  • Sadly our first Annual Meeting was cancelled due to the increase of COVID cases in our County. We are hoping to hold an Open House at 720 W. Main Street just as soon as that is safe. Stay tuned.

  • We welcomed Patrick Tobin to his first official Board Meeting.

  • We reelected those whose terms ended in 2021:
  • Andy Carey - Board Co-Chair, Shelter Co-Chair.
  • Debbie Peiffer - Board, Executive Team, Shelter Co-Chair
  • Larry Knox - Board, Tiny Home and Advocacy Committees
  • Rudy Rivera - Board, Finance and Advocacy Committees

  • We re-appointed with thanks Kyle Geer as our Treasurer and Sarah Peters as our Secretary.

  • The Board continues to seek a person to fill one vacant Board position. We are intentionally seeking to diversify our Board.

  • We hope to have news about 720 W. Main in October.

  • Board members will study and comment on a proposed five year business plan over the next two months.
Shelter Report
We at REACH have had a wonderful summer and have our loyal volunteers and supporters to thank. 

Even though our shelter couldn’t open last winter we wanted to find a way to help the most vulnerable in our community. We began by supporting walking outreach teams out of the Father Tracy Center on Clinton Ave. Our very own, Rudy Rivera, is the Executive Director of the Center and a Board member of REACH. We also supported SWAN at Montgomery Center by providing supplies and lunches to both centers.  

When summer came, we weren’t sure if people would continue to support us, but boy were we wrong! The call went out to our meal partners and almost immediately all slots were filled to bring 40 lunches at a time, two times a week to the outreach teams.

Then we found out that people really liked the hygiene kits the teams were bringing with them. An Amazon wish list
was posted on our Facebook page, and the boxes started coming in. One of our loyal volunteers' sons were kept busy assembling the kits all summer. 

Soon Outreach realized that, although they were meeting people where they are at, they would like to spend more time forming relationships and addressing needs. J.O.I.N, a collaboration between SWAN, MC Collaborative and Beyond the Sanctuary, came together to open a site in an empty lot at the corner of Jefferson and Frost Avenues. Each Tuesday and Wednesday pop up tents were erected, other agencies were invited to join and people from the neighborhood were offered necessary services and support. 
REACH continued to be a part of the team by supplying crayons and bubbles for family day, and backpacks and pencils for back to school. 

We were honored to be a part of this innovative collaboration. 

Deb Peiffer and Andy Carey, Co-Chairs.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we await to learn what plans there are for the care of those experiencing chronic homelessness this coming winter. REACH will be ready as we have demonstrated this past winter.
Got Coats? Donate Today!

Project Homeless Connect is hosting their annual September Coat Drive. Please consider donating coats for people experiencing homelessness during the cold winter months. Drop-off locations and more information can be found here.
Remembering Steve Smith

The Tiny Homes and Development teams lost a valued member this week. Steve Smith passed away unexpectedly on September 7, 2021.

Steve was an early member of the Tiny Homes committee and joined the Development Committee earlier this year. His humble, quiet presence led many to underestimate his value to our committees. He brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to REACH Advocacy that will be difficult to replace with any one person. What follows are reflections of those who worked with him.

I had the wonderful opportunity to work along with Steve on the Tiny Home committee. His quiet and thoughtful approach to issues was highly valued by myself and the team. He was an integral part of the committee, his engagement with community organizations, and his real estate knowledge helped move the Tiny Home mission forward. Along the way, he became a friend. I will miss him.

What sad news. Steve was a member of the development committee as well and was a great contributor.

How sad. I did not know Steve well, but he seemed to be such a nice, gentle man. I am sure the Tiny Homes Committee will feel his loss.

We’ve lost a true, devoted, and humble friend who listed his skills set on behalf of REACH Advocacy as including property management, real estate finance, organizational skills, and advocacy. On behalf of the Tiny Home Committee, he provided practical advice about insurance, visited Second Wind Cottages in Ithaca, pursued the lengthy process of environmental surveys, attended a gentrification conference, and met on multiple occasions with the City Housing and Zoning departments, architects, and developers. He covered a lot of bases and was a valuable behind-the scenes-player.

I am very sorry to hear of Steve's passing. Such a wonderful man who did so much for REACH. He will be greatly missed.

I had only just gotten to know Steve this last year through our work on the Tiny Home and Development Committees. He was a dedicated, intelligent, kind, caring person. I am very saddened to hear of his passing.

Steve was dedicated and a major team player. 

I will always remember Steve as such a quiet presence at meetings.  Yet Steve always volunteered to step up and make contacts and get the information we needed to move us forward.

Steve was a caring, perceptive, and very reliable and capable member of the Tiny Home committee.  This is a great loss to the committee and he will be greatly missed.  My condolences to his family, who are feeling his loss infinitely more intensely!

I first met Steve as we were interviewing him before he joined the Tiny Home Committee. I was struck by the extent of his experience and knowledge of project management and thought that he would be an asset to the team.  He joined the team and played an important role in getting us to this point in our dream of a Tiny Home Village. 

Thank you, Steve. Job well done. You will be missed. Now Rest In Peace, friend.
Tiny Home News

We welcomed new board member Patrick Tobin to our committee this month. Patrick brings a wealth of experience to the committee (see July newsletter for more). We also said goodbye to Steve Smith, who passed away unexpectedly on September 7 (see our reflections above).

Survey Update: We contracted with LaBella & Associates to complete the Phase I survey. They are prepared to do the Phase II survey as soon as the City confirms the need. We hope to have both completed by the end of September and move on to the next steps in development.

Workforce Development continues to move forward. We will meet with Edison Tech on September 16, working on details for a Memorandum of Agreement. We also heard back from the Plumbers and Pipefitters. They are interested in collaborating to run the sewer to the foundations, a donation that we estimate would reduce our pre-construction costs by about $60,000.

Next Steps:
  1. Community Engagement (October)
  2. MOA’s for workforce development
  3. Sourcing commitments for material donations, and
  4. Site Control.

Help Wanted: We are looking for new committee members who will be actively involved in our current work. Some of the experience or background that would be helpful is: real estate, affordable housing, construction, grant writing, and/or fundraising. Experience with Google Docs is a plus. If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them contact our chair at
Tiny Home Village Building Fund
Tiny Home Village Founders give $250 or more as we seek to raise $250,000 for the first phase of the village. To date Founders have given $87,177.57

Our new Founders in July and August:
Constance Valk 
Christ Episcopal Church 
Mountain Rise United Church of Christ
Mary and Stan Pietrzykowski
Penfield Presbyterian Church
Doris Ann Hutnick
We received a $5,000 grant from Christ Episcopal Church in Pittsford. Thank you!

Penfield Presbyterian Church is a new partner with the Tiny Home Village Project and supported REACH for a grant of $3,000 from the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley.

As of now, the REACH Tiny Home Village fund is at $154,942.84 and with a pledge of another $50,000 by St. Paul's Episcopal Church we are at $204,924.84.

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.

You too can become a Founder of the REACH Tiny Home Village. Donate $250 or more by sending a check to: REACH Advocacy, Inc., P.O. Box 10845, Rochester, NY 14610.
Advocacy Opportunities and Current Events

  • RENT and AFFORDABILITY: REACH believes that Housing is a Human Right and that one of the factors causing people to become housing vulnerable is the cost of housing that is so much more than very low income families can afford. During this pandemic we have seen too many families facing eviction. And while there has been good news from NYS when Governor Hochul signed a bill extending the NYS Eviction and Foreclosure Extension through January 15, 2022, what is really needed is a systemic change in our housing program. We recommend to our readers a segment from WHAM News from last July 30.

  • To learn what you can do to support a national housing program, go to the National Low Income Housing Coalition page: "Take Action."
Stabilize Rochester
  • REACH has endorsed 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.

Additional Announcements
To our readers-- we want to say thank you for your interest in and support of REACH. Your ongoing support makes a huge difference in driving our mission forward.

Next Month's Newsletter will be compiled by our Associate Editor, Maria Lelie, while Peter and Sarah are on vacation. Please send all Newsletter items to Maria at by October 8 and Board Notes by October 12.