Thank you to everyone who came to our 2016 Annual Award Luncheon. Thank you to Bill O’Connell from the HUD office for taking the time to speak and for sharing a few words about the road ahead. We enjoyed recognizing the great work done this past year, especially by the award winners:
- Governor Andrew Cuomo (Hero Award) for his work advocating resources, creating the coordinating body of NYSICH, and advocating for policies to serve homeless members of our community
- Empire State Development Corporation Director Sam Hoyt (Distinguished Service Award) for his work assisting us in advocating for effective policy
- Lake Shore Behavioral Health Director of Homeless Services and Western New York Coalition for the Homeless Chair of the Board Nadia Pizarro (Killian Vetter Award) for her work advocating for, and organizing the #BeCountedWNY Youth Point-in-Time, spearheading the Code Blue Collaborative, organizing the Hip Hop for Homeless youth magnet event in addition to her usual work with outreach and housing ensuring homeless members of our community with severe and persistent mental illnesses become and remain housed
- Erie County Department of Mental Health (Monsignor Henry Gugino Award) for their work to ensure homeless members of our community are housed in their permanent supportive housing bed according to acuity and need and facilitating the coordinated entry and SPOE process in a transparent manner
- Buffalo City Mission’s Matt Sargeant (HMIS Award) for ensuring the largest provider of client-level data in our HMIS system is clean, accurate, and timely, thus allowing the region to better advocate for funds and services
- Catholic Charity’s William Larsen, Veteran Affairs Healthcare for Homeless Veterans’ Kristen Weese, WNY211’s Floyd Smith, Restoration Society Inc’s Jean Bennett, and Veteran Housing Coalition’s Celia O’Brien were all recognized as unsung heroes for their exceptional (and often quiet) work ensuring homeless people in our community are sheltered and housed.
We had some exciting success this year, including (but not limited to!) receiving the designation of achieving functional zero with veteran homelessness, the first-ever youth-specific point-in-time count with an expanded homelessness definition, we were selected as one of three agencies to take part in a SOAR pilot-program to assist more people get SSDI/SSI, we have a CoC-funded rapid-rehousing program that will be operating across Niagara County for the first time soon, and our quarterly performance report was cited as an example of a national best-practice by HUD. We look forward to continuing to advocate for resources and best-practices to serve the homeless members of our community.
We’ve posted some photos on our Facebook Page (have you liked us yet?) and posted some comments by speakers on our Twitter page (are you following us?). If you are a social media conscientious objector, you can find the Luncheon photos here.
And we’ll leave you with this photo – the first-ever photo of the entire staff together in one place! Thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing to serve this community with our efforts to end homelessness.