Christian Community Action continues to serve the community after 50 years

Christian Community Action has been serving the community for over half a century. The support of friends and neighbors like you is what makes this work possible. CCA is able to provide help, housing, and hope to families that are homeless in New Haven because of the various individuals, businesses, houses of worship, civic groups, schools and foundations that have committed themselves to reaching those in need. Read more about us at ccahelping.org.

CCA Thanksgiving Basket Drive:
Donations of Turkeys, Canned Goods, and Pastas are in high demand
Please refrain from donating glass items
Drop off donations at:
168 Davenport Ave. New Haven, CT 06519
By: 11/14/2018 at 5:00 P.M.

Coalition for People Takes on Housing Issues

by Paula Panzarella, Coalition for People

Earlier this year, dozens of people who have been supporters of the Coalition for People and attendees of its annual meetings were asked what topics they would like the group to focus on. There was no lack of issues, and within the responses, various housing concerns were mentioned numerous times. Gentrification, rent control, homelessness and lack of affordable housing were the specifics on people’s minds.

At our March 6 meeting, we decided that housing issues would be a key focus of our work at this time. One of the most vivid examples of the lack of affordable housing occurred last December. Mark Cochran, a homeless man who needed detox, was discharged from the hospital to the street after two days. He died soon thereafter.

We want to hear about your concerns and continue the discussion to develop an action plan on

    1. Lack of affordable housing in New Haven;
    2. Homelessness; and
    3. People without a place to live being discharged from the hospital to the street.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 17, 2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. For more info and your suggestions please call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

My Homeless Diary I, II and III

by Wendy Hamilton, advocate for the homeless

I

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m sitting on my couch reading EVICTED by Matthew Desmond. An hour ago I had bought DD coffee at the train station and watched at least a dozen homeless men and women trying to sleep upright on the benches. They are not allowed to recline or unfold. I recognize some of them. The scene is heartbreaking.

Yesterday a skinny homeless teenager wearing only a cotton shirt and a dirty blanket walked through the station. I offered him money, but he refused.

Every day I meet new faces on the street and greet old ones. I pass out small amounts of money to a few knowing that at best it will buy some time in a warm place. I fantasize organizing a small group of these folks to sit with me every day in the mayor’s office (large waiting room) to shame the city into doing something. There are large empty buildings with heat including City Hall right in the center of New Haven.

The “shelters” are inadequate and awful, away from the city center. Yale Corporation and the city and the city hospital exclude the homeless and even though there are charities and outlets for food and clothing, the most important tool for survival, housing, is denied. We all lose our humanity as a result.

II

New Year’s Day — temp is 14F — I walk to the train station for coffee at 8 a.m. Amongst the homeless trying to rest is an elderly white man, scabs on his face, babbling and grimacing, wearing only a thin jacket and PAPER pants, no hat. I ask one of the station police to call an ambulance telling him I am a nurse, and he tells me one just dropped this man off. “He was discharged.” We looked at each other.

I then walked the mile to YNHH ER off York St. It was 9 a.m. and holiday-quiet. Two nurses stood by the reception desk, and I asked for the name of the head doctor of the ER. One of these women wore a vest that said Jessica, Emergency. She started to write down the useless number for “patient relations.” I said I wanted a name so I could write a letter of complaint. She refused and called the two hospital guards (private police) who grabbed me under the armpits and threw me out the front door. Two women patients near the entrance saw this. Luckily I landed on my feet. One cop, C. Larson, told me to get off hospital property.

Later that day I wrote a letter to Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, head medical doctor for the ER at YNHH. No reply so far.

I also found out via the internet that a Baltimore psycho-therapist named Imamu Baraka had a similar experience in his city. Homeless people are denied medical care and hospital admission. I am a witness.

III

Bad news: In January, at a community board meeting, I learned “MC,” Mark Cochran, had died before the holidays. You can read his story in the New Haven Independent at http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/lead_march_cochran. He was 55, a beer drinker and a chain smoker, small of stature, friendly, and a lifelong local. He succumbed to 20 years of homelessness, slogging through heat and cold until it killed him along with his habits.

Yale New Haven Hospital refused to admit him for more than two days. YNHH might have given him more time literally and figuratively. I told them he needed a long stay on a locked down detox ward before he could get housing of any kind. I did mention a heart problem and possible skin disease. I was shown the door. Two days later he was back on Chapel Street.

He was also failed by the local housing system which insists on rules, regulations, and endless delays before subsidized housing is granted or made available. It is slow torture. Even Kafka would be shocked by its cruel complexity.

Good news: I met a young homeless man who is going to Gateway Nursing School, and I offered to help. And Bea C. who is head of SWAN (Sex Workers Allies Network) has been traveling to other cities, networking, and has expanded that group, I found out. Most New Haven sex workers are homeless people.

Recruiting for Justice, Housing & Health Study

Greetings! JustHouHS is pleased to announce that they are ready to start recruiting participants for the Justice, Housing & Health Study (JustHouHS) in New Haven.

As you may know, this study will explore the linkages between criminal justice experiences, access to stable housing, and health, with a particular focus on HIV risk.

They are looking to recruit 400 low-income residents of New Haven to take a survey in our office every six months for two years. Participants will be compensated with a $50 gift card for each visit. Community members that have been released from prison in the past year are especially encouraged to call.

Thank you for your interest in our research and help with recruitment! Alana Rosenberg and Penelope Schlesinger on behalf of the JustHouHS research team

Justice, Housing & Health Study, 129 Church St., Suite 813. Tel (203) 764-7335

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

Visiting MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows Talk About Challenges of Poverty, Housing and Family Stability

by Vada Crosby, Christian Community Action

On April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Hill Career Regional High School, 140 Legion Avenue, New Haven, Christian Community Action is excited to host From Compassion to Action: The Road to Hope, a candid conversation about the pathway to family stability. This event is free and open to the public.
The featured speakers are Matthew Desmond, Ph.D., and Juan Salgado, recipients of the 2015 MacArthur “Genius” grant awards. The MacArthur Fellowship is awarded to individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work, and the prospect for more in the future.

Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, a New York Times best-seller, a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, and the winner of the PEN America/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction.
Salgado, a renowned community leader, is president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, an organization that adapts principles of contextualized learning to equip immigrants and their families.

This discussion will raise awareness of issues affecting urban centers across Connecticut, a state where the cost of living is high, quality housing stock is limited and even families whose heads of household are employed are at risk of homelessness. Beverly Gage, a professor of 20th century American history at Yale University, will moderate.

The event’s host, Christian Community Action, a non-profit agency, has been an advocate since 1967 for New Haven families that are homeless as well as many others struggling with the challenges of poverty. CCA’s programs include an emergency shelter, transitional housing, a food pantry and a variety of support services, including job search assistance, family counseling, and workshops.

For more information, please contact Vada Crosby, CCA Marketing Associate, at (203) 780-8379 or vcrosby@ccahelping.org, or visit CCA at ccahelping.org or http://www.facebook.com/ccahelping. Christian Community Action, 168 Davenport Ave., New Haven, CT 06519.

First Cohousing Community in CT to Start Building this Spring

by Marie Pulito, Rocky Corner cohousing

rocky-corner-gh_renderingSince 2006 there has been an active group in the New Haven area working towards building CT’s first cohousing neighborhood. The group known as Green Haven finally won zoning approval in the town of Bethany last June for their project and officially bought the 33-acre former dairy farm in September.
The neighborhood will be called Rocky Corner after the historical name for that section of Bethany. This corner was where the original town schoolhouse was built and where the c.1750 farmhouse still remains.

Rocky Corner will consist of 30 individual homes. Residents will share the land and a common house where community activities will take place. In this common house, meals will be cooked together and shared. An arts and crafts room will allow residents to create together. A full woodworking shop will be available to all. All rooms will be multi-functional so that the dining room can become a dancehall or theater, a lounge can be a yoga studio, a conference room can be a private music room.

All buildings will be extremely energy efficient with thick insulated walls, passive solar heat gain from the south facing windows, mini-split heat pumps as back up for heating and for cooling.

The property will be used for the community’s own growing of food; annual vegetables, orchards, berry bushes, edible yards. Sections of the property may be leased to residents who want to do organic farming.

Planned as a multi-generational and multi-economic neighborhood, people of all ages and financial backgrounds are welcome to meet us, see the land and decide if living in an intentional community is for them. Multi-generations will help the community thrive. Children will be safe to run and play in the pedestrian center. Adults will be respected for their knowledge and the skills they can teach to others. We are applying for affordable status for 9 of the 30 homes so hopefully these homes will be subsidized by the state.

If you are interested in learning more, contact Marie Pulito (203)393-1245, www.rockycorner.org.
Our Vision: Rocky Corner is a vibrant cohousing neighborhood. We nourish respectful relationships among our members as well as with the natural environment and the wider community.