We began this community of bloggers because we wanted to start a conversation. We wanted to provide a place where this community can come to check its own pulse. We encourage response and conversation. We just ask you to keep it respectful. We'd love to hear it. It's a conversation, after all, we hope you'll add to it.
Last spring, United Way reached for an audacious goal of housing 75 percent of our region's most hard-to-reach and vulnerable homeless population in 100 days.
We knew reaching the goal would be next to impossible. But the urgency created by the sharp deadline spurred innovation and working relationships that had atrophied over time. It took many long hours, near daily meetings of homeless advocates and organizations here at United Way's James Street office, but we did it.
Just today I heard some stunning updates: As of November 25, 2014:
On Thursday, October 16, All Our Kin hosted its annual Kinship in New Haven benefit at Bentara Restaurant. We invited Lottie Brown, a child care provider based in New Haven, to say a few words about her decision to start her own family child care business and her involvement with All Our Kin. The following post is a transcript of her speech.
United Way of Greater New Haven recently screened the HBO documentary Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert. Gilbert’s personal struggles were heart-wrenching and at times difficult to watch, but her indomitable spirit is an inspiration to all of us.
We are also hopeful that there are steps that we can take to help the one-third of women like Gilbert who struggle with below-living-wage work
People have asked me why I am passionate about what United Way does to improve our community. One example is that recently I have had the privilege of being able to work on the issues of homelessness. I have worked on lots of community projects but this was my first significant project in homelessness and so I learned some things.
Nadim Matta, of the Rapid Results Institute, lauded United Way as part of the 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness in New Haven when he spoke at our office this week. The 100-Day Leadership team, including our own Amy Casavina Hall, has been working effectively to tackle the complex issues around getting people housed and has been able to cut through multiple barriers to reach their goals.
Every Sunday night, West Haven family child care provider Yanerys Aziz strategizes for the coming week. She thinks about the materials she’ll lay out for children on her theme table, the arrangement of her child care space, and the activities she’ll propose in the days to come. The children she cares for will arrive early the next morning, and Yanerys wants to be prepared to offer them experiences that nurture their curiosity and help them grow and learn.
From John Davenport's on the 19th Floor of the Omni Hotel, you can look out and see the area where the Veterans Memorial Coliseum once stood. It was the perfect sightline for this occasion: a presentation by New Urbanist visionary Max Reim of LiveWorkLearnPlay, who came to talk about his mixed use development that will soon rise on the former Coliseum terrain. Looking out the window, it was easy to imagine the changes, both physical and cultural, and the potential it will bring to our region.
My colleague Amy Casavina Hall, our vice president for Income and Health Initiatives, dropped me a note about this piece on the Governing web site, "A Better Way to Link Police Analysis and Performance Management," but don't let the title fool you. It's a quick and strong explanation of why United Way uses something called "results-based accountability" to track what we do in the community, and make sure we are achieving the desired results.
In December of 2011, Patricia became a foster mom to a baby girl named Kylie. “When she came to me, she was four months old,” says Patricia, “so light she was like paper.” Now two years old, Kylie is at a healthy body weight but has several significant developmental delays. Fortunately, she now receives free care from an experienced family child care provider named Debra Kelly through the Early Head Start (EHS) program All Our Kin runs in collaboration with the United Way of Greater New Haven.
Sometimes the best thing one can receive is a lesson in the importance of giving. This year, thanks to the New Haven YMCA Youth Center and Boost!, students at Augusta Lewis Troup School are learning just that.