From The New York Shitty Inbox: Anti-Violence Training At The Greenpoint Reformed Church

This comes courtesy of CB Stewart at the Greenpoint Reformed Church. She writes:

In light of this summer’s violence in the neighborhood, the Greenpoint Reformed Church has invited the Anti Violence Project (AVP) to hold a training on street safety and hate violence. If you identify as a woman or an LGBTQ person, please join us at Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton St) at 7PM on Tuesday August 13th.

AVP’s “trainings and workshops provide participants with information on the impact of hate motivated violence, safety planning strategies, tips on preventing or reducing the impact of violence, information on how to create LGBTQH [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV+] inclusive organizations, and how to support the needs of LGBTQ survivors of violence.” [www.avp.org]

For more information visit www.avp.org and feel free to email cb@greenpointchurch.org with any questions about the event.

Mark your calendars…

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Greenpoint’s Got Gospel…

June 7, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

GRCsc(Music, that is)

A very nice lady named Beth writes:

Hi Miss Heather!

Would you mind posting something about this community gospel choir happening at Greenpoint Church? Thank you!

Greenpoint Community Gospel Choir

You know you love gospel music. Secretly. Or not so secretly! Aretha Franklin? Mahalia Jackson? America’s best music has come from the gospel tradition.

Don’t you want to sing some old school gospel music in a grown-up choir? Come join us! All you need is a love of singing, the ability to clap, shout and just a pinch of soul. No prior experience or religious affiliation necessary. Not sure? Come to a rehearsal and try it out. You’ll be singing “Halleluyah!” before you know it!

Any and all who are interested in joining this endeavor should contact Beth via email at pricebeth99 (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also follow their Facebook page by clicking here.

Greenpoint Community Gospel Choir
Sundays from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m
Greenpoint Reformed Church
136 Milton Street
Brooklyn, new York 11222

Notes From The Respite Center Community “Forum”

January 24, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

lettertolentolNYS

 

NOTE/CAVEAT: It was agreed that any/all press (including “blogs”) refrain from posting commentary from the attendees present. I intend to respect this.* However, there was plenty of very informative information tendered by Councilman Levin, Rami Metal, representatives of the Department of Homeless Services, Common Ground and Pastors Kansfield and Aull. This I will endeavor to share. For the sake of simplicity I have opted to organize the two hours worth of “discussion” by topic. If there is anything I missed or mistook, please let me know via comments!

Exactly how did this facility come into being?

The Greenpoint Homeless Task Force

It was explained to everyone present (albeit in a discontinuous fashion) this respite shelter is the culmination of several years of work on the part of a number of people. Mr. Levin’s “right hand man”, Rami Metal, in his previous capacity as the same under David Yassky (Levin’s predecessor) started something called the Greenpoint Homeless Task Force. He did so because he was disturbed by the number of homeless men residing in our public spaces (parks) and waterfront. This body, which includes employees of Outreach, the 94th Precinct, The Department of Health (because a number of our homeless have issues with addiction), the Parks Department (because that is where Greenpoint’s homeless tend to congregate/live), among many others came together with the common goal of addressing Greenpoint’s homeless problem.

The first step in this process was actually identifying exactly how many homeless (men) there are in Greenpoint and learn who they are. To this end Common Ground was brought in. For those of you who are not in the know, Common Ground has a contract with our fair city and does all of its homeless outreach. INTERESTING FACT/ASIDE: one can call 311 and (for wont of a nicer way of putting it) alert the city of a homeless person in his/her community. The operator will ask the caller to give a detailed description and an outreach team will be dispatched within two hours. Outreach discerned that there are fifteen bone fide homeless individuals in Greenpoint and got to know them. Presently ten of these men are using the respite center at the Greenpoint Reformed Church on a daily basis. In other words: this respite center is not seeing a “revolving door” in terms of occupancy— but I am getting ahead of myself.

Communication with the Department of Homeless Services

Upon entering office Councilman Levin took up the matter of creating a shelter (and I am using the term quite loosely) for these individuals with the head of the Department of Homeless Services: Robert Hess. He seemed amenable to the idea and stated if a location could be found for such a facility, he would fund it. However, Mr. Hess was replaced by (the current head) Seth Diamond. He did not seem as enthusiastic so the matter was tabled.

This changed once it became apparent that at least one homeless man a year was dying due to hypothermia for wont of a safe, warm place to sleep. The rather brutal assault which came to pass in McCarren Park last summer also made it clear something needed to be done. So the plans for a respite center were made a priority.

Initially the Church of the Ascension was to be the location for this facility. Reverend Merz negotiated with the Department of Homeless Services and Common Ground (among others) an agreement was made in regards to funding and it seemed to be a “go”. However, Mr. Merz had to withdraw. His reason for doing so was a very sound one: he had a contract pending with a developer to utilize unused FAR for the “public hall” of his church. Given that churches in general are strapped for cash, this makes sense. However due to this turn of events, he could not obligate to the six month minimum contract as required by the Department of Homeless Services. He had to withdraw. Thus, it was “shopped around” to other churches in our community. The Greenpoint Reformed Church, despite serious trepidation (as was made quite clear by Ms. Kansfield and especially Ms. Aull), stepped up to the plate.

The final details for the respite shelter were finessed “two to three weeks” before Hurricane Sandy hit. The Nor’Easter which followed pushed the timetable forward. Thus, this facility was opened November 18th— apparently without Mr. Levin’s knowledge. However, the Greenpoint Reformed Church did announce it on their site. The contract they have (via Common Ground— the Department of Homeless Services cannot dispense funds directly to a religious organization) runs through June 2013 and it was made explicit therein that the Greenpoint Reformed Church has “veto power” over who can and more importantly— who cannot— “reside” at this respite shelter. Councilman Levin made repeatedly clear he was very apologetic as to the lack of awareness raising on his part. He claimed total responsibility and hoped (as did the other representatives present) that there will hopefully be better communication moving forward.

Exactly how does this “respite shelter” work?

First, let’s consider how it is different than 400 McGuinness. As a Department of Homeless Services representative explained (and this is keeping it very simple): there are shelters such as BRC’s assessment facility at 400 McGuinness (which are part of larger “system”) and ancillary shelters which are geared towards what she called “street homeless”. The objectives of both are the same: to provide homeless individuals shelter, treatment and, ultimately, permanent housing (more often than not, in SROs**).

The difference lies (at least in terms of the respite center at the Greenpoint Reformed Church) in methodology. More specifically, the latter is local in scope and seeks to house individuals who are unwilling and unable to enter the “traditional” shelter system. The reasons for this are many. As it pertains to the respite center at the Greenpoint Reformed Church, the men they serve have language “issues” (READ: as Polish immigrants, they do not speak English fluently) and have addiction problems (alcoholism, mostly). While these men have “priority” in terms of shelter at BRC’s facility at 400 McGuinness (which assesses homeless men from the city in general), they have not elected to use it. Entering a shelter is purely voluntary; it cannot be forced. Like I previously wrote: the needs of these individuals are very specific and as such this respite shelter was created to address them.

The “nuts and bolts”

The respite center at the Greenpoint Reformed Church is staffed by two employees from Common Ground. As I previously stated, this is the organization which has been contracted by the city to do homeless outreach. They are the operators of this facility. Common Ground staff meet the ten homeless men in question at Greenpoint Avenue and Manhattan Avenue every evening at 9:00 p.m. They escort these fellows to the shelter. After dinner is served the beds are rolled out and they go to sleep. The employees stay with them. The following morning (at 5:40 a.m.), they escort these men back to Greenpoint Avenue and Manhattan Avenue. It was also noted they do patrols of Milton Street (between Manhattan Avenue and Franklin Street) to ensure there is no malingering/”trouble”.

Does this respite shelter have a bathroom? (Because this being New York Shitty it deserves its own heading)

Yes it does! What’s more, the Department of Homeless Services has approved funding for a shower. The rationale for this is quite simple (and lest I have not made it clear via these notes thus far): as chronically homeless men, the goal is to get them sheltered and care so they can, hopefully, be “reintegrated” back into society. Obviously personal hygiene is essential to making this happen.

What will happen if/when the ten men at this facility presently are placed in permanent housing?

As it was noted by both representatives the Department of Homeless Services and Common Ground, this can take years to happen. However, the intent with the respite shelter at the Greenpoint Reformed Church is to target a specific homeless population: Greenpoint’s homeless population. When Greenpoint ceases to have homeless individuals, this facility will have served its purpose.

Since I have promised not to publish any of the discussion from tonight’s two hour meeting, there’s really not much more to write. HOWEVER, the Common Ground representative present, Doug Becht, made quite clear:

  • If anyone has problems of an urgent nature regarding the conduct of any of the men who use this facility, call the 311 (the police).
  • If anyone has concerns of a less severe but chronic nature, contact Common Ground at 347-573-1746.

In closing, it was announced there would be another community meeting in “about one month”. Those who signed up at this evening’s convocation will receive notice as to when this will happen. When I hear something, I’ll say something here.***

P.S.: For those of you who are wondering, here is a roster of public officials who turned out at tonight’s meeting: Linda Minucci (50th Assembly District Democratic Party Female Leader), Steve Levin (City Councilman for the 33rd District), a representative from Joe Lentol’s office and, in an albeit unofficial capacity (Community Board 1 was apparently not notified of this convocation), the Public Safety Chair of Community Board 1.

*With one exception. One attendee noted:

There is no application to be a member of the (this) community. (One does not) audition to be a member.

**Single Room Occupancy

**On a more provocative note, one attendee informed the Mister (who arrived late) that there will be a meeting of individuals opposed to the respite shelter January 31st. No further details were given.

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A CSA Cometh To The Greenpoint Reformed Church?

February 26, 2012 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

The answer is yes! Pastor (and all around nice gal) Ann Kansfield writes:

Hey Heather,

I thought that perhaps your veggie-loving readers might be interested in knowing about the CSA that’s going to be starting at our church this spring and running through the fall. Here’s some info:

Hey veggie lovers in Greenpoint! The Greenpoint Reformed Church going to be hosting a CSA this year. Here’s the info if you’re looking to sign up for fresh veggies this spring and summer: Lineage Farm will be teaming up with the Greenpoint Reformed Church for a CSA distribution on Mondays starting June 4. This will be a weekly distribution of vegetables that runs for 22 weeks. All produce is grown with organic and biodynamic methods of farming. The variety of vegetables changes over the season. There will be about 35 different types of vegetables grown and distributed during the season with over 130 varieties of those vegetables. For more information please visit www.lineagefarmcsa.com or email the farmer who’s growing the food at jonronsani (at) netscape (dot)net.

In exchange for using the church as a base for distributing CSA veggies, Lineage Farms will be donating extra produce to the soup kitchen and food pantry. We are incredibly grateful to all the area CSAs that donate food to our hunger program. The list includes the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA, the Paisley Farm CSA and the South Side CSA among others. Thanks to their generosity, we’re able to distribute tons of fresh veggies and fruit to hungry people in North Brooklyn.

And on a somewhat related note…if anyone you know might want assistance in applying for Food Stamps (aka SNAP benefits), Greenpoint has a wonderful Food Stamps expert who volunteers to help people with the application process and troubleshoot bureaucratic difficulties related to Food Stamps benefits. She’s available to help on Mondays from 10am – 2pm at the church.

Thanks!
Ann

Lineage Farm CSA at the Greenpoint Reformed Church
Starts: Monday, June 4, 2012
Greenpoint Reformed Church
136 Milton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

From The New York Shitty Inbox: A Plea From The Greenpoint Reformed Church Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry

November 27, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church writes:

Dear Friends,

I’m desperate, which is why I’m sending this email to everyone I know. And I’ll totally understand if you hit unsubscribe after you see this. But I’m hoping you’ll read this and help.

Four years ago, we started a soup kitchen and food pantry. We never envisioned what would happen, but every month more and more people keep coming to us for food. Last week our City Councilman invited me to testify before the Council about the increasingly dire situation faced by hungry people in our community. In preparing to testify, I made a chart showing the number of people we’ve served in the past several years. It just goes up and up and up. As you might guess, the funds needed to help feed so many hungry people haven’t kept pace with the demand. In fact, the main funding for pantries like ours comes from the federal government, and it was slashed by almost 75% this year.  (Check out the charts and the testimony.). Some weeks it’s been so bad that we’ve had to turn hundreds of people away because we just haven’t had the food. I also need to raise funds to cover our operational expenses. We keep these expenses low, but we still have to pay for the lights, gas, heat and phone as well as my part-time salary.

I need your help, and I’m asking you to do two things. Please make a Thanksgiving donation to Greenpoint’s pantry and kitchen. No gift is too small – we can do a lot with $10 and a lot more with $100.  We’re able to buy food at a reduced cost from the NY Food Bank, so we leverage every dollar donated to us. Second, please help spread the word and forward this message to five friends asking them to donate a few bucks.  If everyone gives a little, we can do so much.

We’re aren’t a large non-profit.  We don’t have a fancy building or shiny equipment. You can be assured that your donation goes directly to help people who would otherwise fall through the cracks of our society.  Along with helping people, you also have the benefit of your donation being tax-deductable.

You can make a one-time donation via PayPal or you can sign up to give monthly via our website. If you’re not into online giving, you can send a check to:

Greenpoint Church Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry
136 Milton St. 
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Thank you so much for your help!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Fundraiser For The Greenpoint Soup Kitchen

June 27, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item comes courtesy of a lady named Jennifer. She writes:

Thanks so much for posting Deadpan Collective’s first event on your blog. We finally have all the details for the soup kitchen fundraiser in place and I wanted to pass on a flyer in hopes that you would help get the word out so we can raise as much money as possible.

Here are the details:

Saturday, July 9, 2011, 3pm-8pm @ The Greenpoint Reformed Church, 136 Milton Street, Brooklyn NY
$10, free Brooklyn Brewery Beer, food provided by Nha Toi, giveaways from WORD bookstore
Performances (in order) by:

Hiawatha
Dear Hearts
The Tablets
The Living Kills

with DJ Liam Weikart

So there have you!

Fundraiser For The Greenpoint Reformed Church Soup Kitchen
July 9, 2011 starting at 3:00 p.m.
Greenpoint Reformed Church
136 Milton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather

LAST GASP: Help Wanted

May 9, 2011 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item comes courtesy of Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. She writes:

Hi Heather,
I’m hoping that you might help get the word out about an opportunity to do food stamps outreach through the VISTA program. The candidate would serve in Greenpoint, helping to enroll people to receive Food Stamps. It’s a really great opportunity.

Duly blogged— and yes, this is a great opportunity!

Miss Heather

LAST GASP: Babies Wanted

December 15, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

(for a good cause)

Ann Kansfield, the co-pastor of the Greenpoint Reformed Church, writes (in regards to my inquiry as to how Ann K 2.0 is doing):

Ak 2.0 is coming along, although I wish she’d show up in time to play Jesus in the Christmas pageant on Sunday. Maybe you could post a request saying that we are casting a baby Jesus. Applicant must be a baby. Nothing else required except showing up on Sunday at 10:30. The pageant runs from 11:00 am- noon. It’s gonna be hilarious, and very Greenpoint. Potential Jesuses (or their agents) can email me. If only our kid would have arrived sooner, she coulda been a star…

Any and all Greenpoint— or Williamsburg— babes can contact Ann via email at: kansfield (at) yahoo (dot) com. STAT.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Kids arrive when they want to. Just ask Pa Heather. I arrived exactly seven days after his desired birth date (for tax purposes). And despite being born two weeks early I have been a week late and a dollar short ever since!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: Somewhere

November 1, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This items comes from my friend at the Greenpoint Reformed Church, Ann Kansfield. She writes:

Hey Heather,

I have a favor to ask…We’re starting a queer friendly youth group at the church, and we need some help getting the word out.  It’s open to everyone, and I’m hoping that you might help us reach teens who are looking for such a group.  I’ve attached a flier, and it’s posted on the church website at http://greenpointchurch.org/archives/224.  Feel free to put a shout out that we’re an LGBT-affirming church. Also, I’m more than happy to be a supportive clergy-person to anyone who might be struggling with matters of faith.

While hardly the church-going type I for one think this is a wonderful (and long overdue) idea and want to help spread the word!

Somewhere: A Queer-friendly, God-centered Sanctuary For Youth
First Meeting: November 5, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
Greenpoint Reformed Church
136 Milton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Miss Heather
Miss Heather

FRIDAY: Supper For A Good Cause

September 15, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

It’s been a long time— too long— since I have a nod to the wonderful Co-Pastors who operate the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Not only do these lovely ladies give succor to our neediest—- but they’re really cool to boot! This post is an attempt to catch up. Here it goes.

This upcoming Friday, September 17, they will be conducting a fund-raising supper for their food pantry and soup kitchen.

The (tentative) menu (whose produce/foodstuffs has been donated from local farms/businesses!) is as follows:

  • Soup—Sunchoke with crispy brussel sprouts
  • Salad—Vegetarian Nicoise: Lettuce, string beans, potatoes, boiled eggs, etc…
  • Main Course—Creamy Polenta, fire roasted tomato ragout, grilled veggies, garlicky greens
  • Dessert—(the most tentative menu item!) Sugared crepes, carmelized apples, Van Leeuwen ice cream (!)

A cocktail hour will be conducted in the backyard from 6:30 – 8:30 as well. Among the offerings are:

vodka with mint syrup and raspberries and bourbon with ginger juice and lemon—as well as wine–$8 suggested donation per drink.

This includes “snacks”. Check it out!

Greenpoint Supper Club Fundraiser
September 17, 2010 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Suggested donation: $15.00
The Greenpoint Reformed Church
138 Milton Street
Brooklyn, New York 11222

Oh yeah: can (and MUST) RSVP via email at: annefay (at) gmail (dot) com

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: The Greenpoint Reformed Church

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