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MCoC’s New VISTA: Pascale Etienne
1.Where did you grow up?
I grew up in NY, specifically Stony Point. It is a suburb and considered part of the New York Metropolitan Area.
2.What college/university did you attend?
I went to Binghamton University. It is a public school in upstate NY .
3. What is your degree in? Why did you pursue that particular degree?
My degree is in English literature with a concentration in global culture and rhetoric. I pursued this degree because I was interested in the ways that literature could frame people’s understanding of the world and the ways books can force a person to think critically.
4 .What do you hope to get out of your VISTA experience?
What I hope to get from my VISTA experience is that I’ve made a small difference towards the issue of homelessness in my corner of the world.
5. What is your favorite thing to do on a day off of work?
My favorite thing to do on a day off from work is too sleep late, spend some time with friends and end the evening with a good book to read.
Last month, Congress passed and the President signed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which raised the debt ceiling while requiring spending cuts, which will be applied over the next decade. The majority of these cuts will be staggered, with the largest cuts coming after FY2013. In total, the cuts should reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion dollars. A Join Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka Super Committee), composed of 12 members of Congress, was created through the Budget Control Act. The committee is charged with providing Congress with a proposal on where the roughly $2 trillion dollars will come from over the next decade. The committee must provide a proposal to Congress by mid-August. Congress then has until mid-December to vote on the proposal.
If either Congress or the committee fail on their responsibilities, then the “mechanism” that has been built into the Budget Control Act will automatically be triggered. This mechanism will set reductions for each year over the next decade and divide the spending cuts 50/50 from defense spending and other discretionary spending (while exempting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security).
In the last two months over five hundred homeless people have walked through the doors of the Manchester Homeless Services Center. At night they stay at New Horizons, live by the river, couch surf at a friend’s place or sleep in a car. During the day our door at Pine & Central is open.As the new manager for the Center, I am the host for those who come to our door. If they need a safe place inside, a cup of coffee, a shower, a decent meal and access to services to help them improve their situation, I make sure those things are available, during the day, Monday through Friday.During the fifteen years I was the senior pastor at First Congregational Church, homeless people appeared at our door every day, and I heard hundreds of stories. After I retired from ministry in 2008, I went to Concord to manage the Merrimack County ServiceLink Resource Center, which helped me learn about federal grants, reporting requirements and social services for senior citizens and disabled persons. When I was offered the opportunity to work once again with the homeless, though, I was delighted to come back to the city I love, working with people who demand and deserve my best.The Center’s management team includes Susan Howland from Granite United Way and the City of Manchester, Craig Everett from Helping Hands Outreach, Kevin Kintner from New Horizons and Dominique Rust from New Hampshire Catholic Charities. These principled people demonstrate their commitment to making the Center efficient and effective. When I open the door at 8 AM, I feel personally grateful to carry their compassion and experience into the Center itself. Managing this oasis for the homeless is, for me, a dream job.The Manchester Continuum of Care has been very supportive of the Center, and I tip my hat to them. Service providers like The Way Home, the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, NH Food Bank, Catholic Medical Center Healthcare for the Homeless, Veteran’s Administration, Southern New Hampshire Services, Child & Family Services and others have proven to be stalwart partners. The Center is also becoming a service learning site for St. Anselm students. These are exciting times to see so many partners gathering around to help the homeless find a new path forward.I am deeply impressed by the creativity and courage of those in the city who founded the Homeless Center in 2010.Mayor Guinta’s Steering Committee to End Homelessness was truly inspired in convening so many players to make this amazing place happen. Giving the homeless a safe and helpful place during the day, off the streets, where they meet counselors in housing, health, veteran’s benefits and much more – this is the right combination of services to help people toward greater self-sufficiency.So far I am the only staff person, which means I rely on volunteers from the surrounding neighborhood and area churches, but I would like to invite more volunteers to help. A wide variety of tasks is available for those who will roll up their sleeves and get busy here at the Center, where life is often raw but always hopeful.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2011 Continuum of Care (CoC) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) on Tuesday, August 30th. The NOFA makes $1.63 billion dollars available for the Continuum of Care Homeless Assistant Programs. The following are some of the highlights from the 2011 NOFA:
The HUD form-96010 (Program Outcome Logic Model) is not required as a part of the Exhibit 2–project application submission in e-snaps.
HUD will continue to limit the grant term for SHP and S+C renewal grants to 1 year of funding. Requests for multiple year funding will be reduced to 1-year amounts.
In FY2011, HUD will give selection priority to projects located in 100 percent rural areas.
There will be a Permanent Housing Bonus. The bonus amount will be 15 percent of a CoC’s PPRN or $6 million, whichever is less.
HUD anticipates the new homeless definition to be approved in time to be in effect for project awarded under this NOFA.
HUD also notes that it anticipates publishing proposed regulations implementing other parts of the HEARTH Act sometime during the remainder of the year.
For 2010, around $95,000 was made available for the Permanent Housing Bonus (aka new permanent housing project). For 2011, it is expected that between $90,000 and $100,000 will be available for the Permanent Housing Bonus.
Last month, HUD released each Continuum of Care’s score from the national competition program for 2010. For the 3rd consecutive year, the MCoC has increased its score, which is nothing short of amazing! These scores represent the MCoC’s overall performance and are based on several categories: CoC Housing, Services, and Structure, Homeless Needs and Data Collection, CoC Strategic Planning, CoC Performance, and Emphasis on Housing Activities. The following is a more in-depth look at the MCoC’s scores over the past 3 years, including what areas the MCoC has excelled in, and where the MCoC could use improvement.