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9/06/13: Erie County Senior and Veterans Services Departments to Join 9/11 National Day of Service


RSVP Program, Veterans Service Agency to Volunteer at Shelters Housing Homeless Veterans

ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Department of Senior Services Retired Senior Volunteer Program (“RSVP”), the county Veterans’ Service Agency, the Service Collaborative of WNY, and the Home Depot will be joining in volunteer efforts nationwide on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 for the “9/11 National Day Of Service”, an effort originally launched in 2002 by 9/11 family members and support groups who worked to establish the charitable service day as a forward-looking way to honor 9/11 victims, survivors, and others who rose up in service in response to the attacks. Members of the departments will be volunteering at two shelters that many local homeless veterans and others utilize.

“When I think of 9/11, as everyone does I remember where I was when I heard the news.  It’s nice to look back upon the projects I’ve participated in on the National Days of Service since then, as opposed to that horrible feeling of helplessness that day.  Volunteering gives a feeling of empowerment and contribution instead.  Simple local efforts made across our great nation combine for a huge impact and difference in only one day,” said Carrie Smith, Volunteer Coordinator of Erie County RSVP.

Volunteers will be working at the Altamont House, located at 72 Sycamore in Buffalo, and at the Little Portion Friary located at 1305 Main Street in Buffalo. During the Day of Service, volunteers will be painting, installing flooring, landscaping, and other activities that will improve the physical conditions of the two shelters.

Fran McLaughlin, Director of the Erie County Veterans Service Agency, said, “We must do all we are able to provide sufficient access to adequate, safe and welcoming shelter to any Veteran in need. We owe these heroes nothing less.”

Other volunteers are welcome to join in the revitalization efforts at these locations. Lunch will be provided. Volunteer sign-in will begin at 8:30 at the Altamont House. Parking is available on Sycamore St. and Michigan Avenue. All volunteers should dress appropriately for interior renovations. For more information on how to volunteer, contact Carrie Smith of RSVP at 858-7548.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) estimated that 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night, and over the course of a year, approximately twice that number experience homelessness. While only 7% of the general population can claim veteran status, veterans comprise nearly 13% of the homeless adult population. Nightly, approximately 1,000 people experience homelessness in Erie County. In 2012, the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center referred 1,766 homeless veterans and at-risk families to local emergency shelter and transitional housing organizations.

Veterans account for 23% of the Altamont Program’s homeless population intake, and the Program served 166 veterans in 2012 alone. A recipient of referrals through the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Program offers hope and opportunity to the impoverished, the addicted, and the socially disenfranchised through addiction treatment, housing, vocational training, and job placement.

For over 30 years, Little Portion Friary has continued to bring together workers, donors and guests in an effort to meet the basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, but also to see that each guest takes his or her own steps toward a more stable life. Little Portion Friary served 492 individuals in 2012. Little Portion Friary is a recipient of referrals through the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Senior Services RSVP Program, visit http://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/index.php?q=volunteer-amp-employment