Rochester Emergency Action Committee for the Homeless Advocacy had planned to close Bridge Home on Jan. 31 when it was thought that House of Mercy would open very shortly. It was also the agreement we had with Redeeming Word Church. But that was not to be.
It soon became apparent that the new House of Mercy would not be able to take in any residents for several weeks.
We met with Redeeming Word Church and House of Mercy and devised a new arrangement for the coming weeks. First, the Rev. Brinson, of Redeeming Word Church, agreed that we could continue to operate until the governor’s Code Blue law expired March 15, assuming that it is not extended due to inclement weather. Second, to facilitate this extension House of Mercy would enter into a lease agreement with Redeeming Word Church as REACH does not have the funds to cover this additional time.
REACH has been assured that House of Mercy would be in a position to receive guests by March 15. Any Bridge Home residents who are not placed elsewhere will move to House of Mercy.
We are very pleased that so many have helped with make Bridge home a success, including volunteers who filled the meal calendar; Andy Carey and Kevin Aiken from MC Collaborative and Ashlee Mottler from coordinated access at the Catholic Family Center as our social workers who have supported the Bridge Home director in so many ways; Maurice Cooper, our home director, has done a stunning job in managing the many demands of the day to day running along with Dan Callan; and so many others have helped to make this a successful shelter.
REACH is committed to the notion that no person should be turned away from shelter, especially during our very cold months. During this past winter, we have provided shelter and meals for more than 90 men and women in addition our social workers placing 20 of our guests in permanent housing.
As we close Bridge Home, John Curran, an invaluable member of our team, is coordinating the cleanup and care of 59 Ontario St. so that we can hand it back to Redeeming Word Church in good shape. Volunteers will be needed for this starting March 18. For information, visit bit.ly/2m30ntA.
In the months ahead, REACH will continue to be an advocate for the care of the homeless and will be doing this on two fronts. First, we are collaborating on organizing a Housing First Symposium on Sept. 27 at Rochester Institute of Technology. Second, we are exploring ways in which we can collaborate on how to develop a micro house model of housing for the homeless.
Any person interested in join us is welcome. Check our website for opportunities.
Once again, thank you to all of the many supporters of our efforts here at Bridge Home.