FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & MANAGERS October 2017
HAC would like to thank all of our supporters for donating to our recent campaign. Please read our update on the campaign in a later article or online at the web addresses above. Your support of HAC has been crucial!
HAC’s SRO serves chronically homeless alcoholics who have been unable to maintain sobriety and were on the streets prior to moving in. Our population has been aging, and many of our tenant’s health had deteriorated prior to moving in. As a result, many of our tenants have serious health problems. We currently have two tenants who have Stage IV cancer, and it has been quite a struggle for them. Staff are also impacted by this as we are like a family. It has been difficult for staff to witness some of our tenant’s health decline but they continue to support these tenants in every way they can. HAC also has several people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries, and organic brain damage from drinking. One tenant within the past few weeks has been struggling with dementia that came on very suddenly. Staff have been excellent in providing him with extra support and help with his confusion.
Since our last newsletter, HAC staff have lent support to one of our tenants when her daughter died suddenly. It was a very difficult time but staff accompanied her to the park memorial to lend support and attended the funeral.
HAC’s Outreach Van provides outreach and basic needs like food, clothing, and blankets as well as transportation to shelters or area resources. The HAC Van is also called upon by shelters to provide transportation of clients to different shelters. As you are aware, the opioid epidemic has been growing in this country. HAC Van staff are finding more people outside addicted to drugs; heroin in particular. Many van staff have been trained on administering Narcan, which reverses overdoses. A difficult situation arose recently when someone called the HAC Van because a friend of theirs had possibly overdosed. They were afraid to call EMS and go to a hospital because of an outstanding legal issue. HAC Van staff went immediately to help this person and stayed with the client until van staff were assured there was no need to call 911. It is a scary time as many people outside are using drugs alone where there is a possibility that no one will be around to help. The HAC Van is grateful they are able to provide care to clients because it can often be difficult to access treatment when the client wants it.
More options for housing have materialized for the chronically homeless population due to the Housing First Model being implemented in more programs. However, van staff report there being a need for more options for those not yet deemed chronic. There are also many people who are mentally ill on the streets, with accompanying substance abuse, and/or who have burnt their bridges with many places. HAC Van staff are worried about the upcoming winter when it can be difficult to find shelter for active substance abusers. It may be even more difficult this year because of a cap on shelter beds at some programs. Your donations will help the HAC Van provide outreach and basic needs to clients who are living on the street preparing to spend the frigid winter outdoors. We are also over-budget with our van spending and have to make up a deficit, due to Code Blue, rising costs, etc.
HAC Van staff also had to deal with the death of one of their clients who was murdered. HAC Van staff helped organize a memorial service with the family of this client and many van staff attended.
HAC Van staff would like to thank the Albany Police Department for all of their work with the homeless population and for spreading the word to them about our services. The community police officers have been great to work with, and in particular Brian Hawley of the LEAD program is an incredibly caring officer.
In this newsletter, we would like to thank all of our staff for their FANTASTIC work in a difficult job, that pays very little, and who deal with very challenging things. SRO Staff have to be multi-talented: cook, clean, deal with medical crises, keep the facility safe and calm, diffuse arguments, and assist tenants with personal hygiene, and room cleaning issues. At times they have to deal with cleaning up urine or worse and can often be treated less than kindly when tenants are intoxicated. Van staff have to deal with juggling calls from clients, police or service providers, and prioritize calls all while trying to find people who are still outside on the streets and be sure they are safe. They have to deal with seeing people outside on very cold nights or during inclement weather. At times, they also have to deal with being treated less than kindly by people who are in need of their services.
To SRO staff: Abe, Adine, Allie, Alysha, Cody, Kayla, Khrystin, Megan, Peggy, and to HAC Van staff: Kim, Stephanie, Ptah, Tiana, and Will we say THANK YOU!! We also thank our many van volunteers. Your kindness, hard work, caring, and support of our tenants & clients MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE! Finally, we would not be able to do any of this without EACH OF YOU- our supporters. Please continue to make a DIFFERENCE in the lives of a very vulnerable population and donate today!
PLEASE HELP HAC!
HAC has to raise over $120,000 in private donations each year. With rising costs and shrinking funding, any donation, whether it is large or small, will help HAC with our programs and in catching up to our fundraising goal this year. Can you help us out by making a generous contribution online or by mail? Through HAC’s work and your support, we are able to provide people who are homeless with crucial services and housing! -Thank you!
___ Enclosed is my donation of: ___ $100 ___ $50 ___ $25 ___
___ I am interested in volunteering on the HAC Van.
Please make checks payable and mail to: HAC, 393 N. Pearl Street, Albany, 12207.
Homeless Action Committee
393 N. Pearl St
Albany, NY 12207
VAN VOLUNTEERS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED: Volunteers are needed 7 days/week. Must make a weekly commitment. Shifts can be 2-3 hrs long or 5-8 hrs long. Please call HAC to volunteer!
CAMPAIGN UPDATES; B’NAI B’RITH
HAC’s recent campaign was very successful! To date, over $12,000 was contributed! We sought support for maintenance and repair costs at the SRO and for our Outreach Van.
HAC also was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the B’nai B’rith Foundation. We are extremely grateful to them!
This campaign and your support as well as the B’nai B’rith Foundation has or will pay for the following: new locks on all tenant doors as well as new locks in other places throughout the building; $4000 in repairs for the HAC van; plumbing repairs; fixing of a roof leak; fire shutter repairs; refrigerator/freezer repairs; oven repairs. These repairs are desperately needed to continue making HAC run smoothly. However, these funds will not cover all that we need. We still have many other issues that need to be addressed including: a new dishwasher (cost between $4,000-$7,000), new washers & dryers, new snow tires for the van, etc.
SPECIAL THANK YOU TO KENDAL HAIGHT
Since opening, Kendal has been crucial to the SRO functioning with his help cooking meals for tenants and with minor maintenance issues. Kendal’s pattern was to drink 2-3 days per week and be sober the rest of the week and he always helped when he was sober. In September, Kendal had shoulder replacement surgery and since that time, he has stayed sober. While he shouldn’t be doing as much as he has due to the need to recover from the surgery, Kendal has been instrumental at the house with meals since his surgery. He has made special dinners and lunches, baked delicious treats, made fruit salad many times, and has helped staff beyond belief. We would like to specifically thank Kendal in this issue for all he has been doing. He typically helps out in the kitchen from 5am-7pm, 7 days of the week, with a few hours off for breaks.
Thank you, Kendal!
-Brand new twin fitted sheets
-Men’s winter gloves
-Brand new pillows
-Men’s winter hats
-New men’s socks
-Hot hands/Hand warmers
-Brand new men’s underwear (Sm & Med sizes)
-Men’s razors/ shaving cream
*Drop off anytime, 24/7, to 393 N. Pearl St. Albany, NY 12207