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Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency Forms New Advocacy Group with Greater Norwalk Opening Doors

Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency has created a new advocacy group in collaboration with Greater Norwalk Opening Doors. The goal of the Consumer Advocacy Council Meetings, which meet every second and fourth Thursday of every month at Grace Episcopal Church in Norwalk, is to encourage those experiencing homelessness and constituents from the community to learn new leadership skills to advocate for themselves and others. The local Consumer Advocacy Council Meeting is part of Opening Doors Greater Norwalk to prevent and end homelessness.

“The Advocacy Council Meetings inform those experiencing homelessness as to the different types of local and state government and how they can use their story to advocate for their needs within the community,” says Chris Jachino, Director of Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency.

Presently, the meetings are primarily comprised of clients experiencing homelessness and receiving professional services from Family & Children’s Agency and we are working to increase attendance from other service providers in Greater Norwalk area. The goal is to involve consumers from the Greater Norwalk region to learn how they can support the needs of homeless individuals and families to prevent and end the cycle of homelessness. Sarah Petela, Project Coordinator with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, leads each of the meetings. Meetings are currently being held at Grace Episcopal Church at 1 Union Park in Norwalk. The offices of Homeless Services and the Community Connections Center, a day center providing professional support for those experiencing homelessness, were destroyed during Tropical Storm Sandy and have been temporarily relocated to Grace Episcopal Church. Family & Children’s Agency is grateful for the generosity and longstanding partnership with Grace Episcopal Church.

Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency supports adult members of the community experiencing homelessness. The Community Connections Center is the first step for many clients toward rebuilding their lives. The center is open seven days a week and offers clients vocational skills training and helps adults learn about federal and state resources available to them. The center also provides formerly homeless adults the opportunity to learn skills that they require to maintain housing and independent living in the Agency’s Supportive Housing Program. The overarching goal of the program is to reduce the cycle of homelessness. With no more than 12 clients per case manager, Family & Children’s Agency’s staff offers full support to clients.

For more information about the Consumer Advocacy Council Meetings or Homeless Services at Family & Children’s Agency, please contact Chris Jachino, Director of Homeless Services, at (203) 505-2046 or email cjachino@fcagency.org.