SYR | HopePrint + the Refugee Community

Approximately 12, 000 refugees currently reside in Syracuse, about 800 arriving each year.  Upon arrival, they have a caseworker for 90 days and for 8 months, receive housing, food, and a small stipend with no questions asked.  However, in New York State, refugees must be employed or enrolled in the JOBS Plus Program actively seeking employment.

HopePrint is a non-profit (donation/volunteer/grant funded) founded 3 years ago after a group of soon-to-be graduates responded to a request of furniture by a Nepali family they had met.  (4 years ago Syracuse saw the largest influx of refugees to date).

Located in the Northside neighborhood (where the majority of the refugee population lives), HopePrint addresses the notion that the greatest need for incoming refugees are relationships.  Programs include ESL tutoring, GED Tutoring. Leadership Development (gather leaders of various ethnic groups to share ideas), Kids Club, collaboration with Northside Urban Partnerships (entrepreneurship start ups).  Also has worked with local middle school to address the bullying of refugee students (of the 100 middle school students, only 3 knew the meaning of refugee).

~5 members of HopePrint live upstairs of the “HopePrint” home (Americans+ previous refugees from the Congo, one recently got job at the hospital, one American was an AmeriCorps Vista – lives at poverty level).  The founders/directors have other jobs to sustain themselves/are continuing their education.  It is somewhat reminiscent of MIUFI in Detroit in that the founders first purchased a home in the community and said they went from “outsiders to neighbors.”

Some questions:

How are the programs advertised?

What is the distribution of Syracuse natives + Refugees throughout Northside?

Participation of native Syracuse community? (kids are involved but what about the adults?  Also harder to reach out to/are working so the extent of interaction of the immediate locals with the refugee community at HopePrint I have seen tends to be sending their children to Kids Club as a form of free daycare, but kids walk to the home themselves)

Rescue Mission Alliance of Syracuse

Syracuse has a similar problem as Detroit in relation to the access to an adequate amount of healthy food. In Detroit it is mediated by Urban Farming and large companies such as Whole Foods, implementing low-cost versions of their stores in the afflicted areas. The Rescue Mission serves a similar purpose to the low-income populations of Syracuse. They provide food to anyone who enters their doors, temporary housing for those requiring it and provide support services for those people getting back on their feet. The Syracuse model is reflected in the efforts of the Unitarian Church that we stayed at in Detroit.

The Rescue Mission

A Christian run foundation whose mission statement is “No one should have to be hungry or homeless. It can happen for so many reasons and once there, it can be a difficult road back. You can help the Rescue Mission work to end hunger and homelessness by join our mission”.

Their main objectives are to

  • End Hunger
  • End Homelessness
  • Outreach
  • Spiritual Care

Founded by a group of local churches to reach out to the homeless of Syracuse in 1887. Founding mission was to bring men, women and children to Christ, to offer spiritual and physical renewal and to help those most in need to provide food and shelter.

Disclaimer: “They recognize that the community is a multi-faith community and that they do not discriminate. People are not required to get spiritual care in order to receive the services of the organization. Freedom”

Food: Served at the Rescue Mission Center

“The number of people who need a meal has risen to record levels in the last few months, he said. The mission had been serving about 650 meals a day in Syracuse but since May the number spiked to more than 800 and sometimes more than 900 a day toward the end of every month” Alan Thornton, President

    • 3 Meals offered per day, every day a year

    • Volunteer work for serving meals (Supervised by paid employees)

      • Anyone in the community, including Alpha Phi Omega (Community Service Fraternity)

      • 55 people per day- Syracuse University

      • Many local community members serve on the weekends

    • Recipients don’t have to hear the gospel to receive the food, No Preaching, Not forced to repent for sins.. Belief that God should be experienced on one’s own terms.

    • There are permanent staff are employed by the organization and receive a salary

      • Facility Managers, Spiritual Advisors (Making Bank), Administration

      • Unpaid Internships – Students and Community Members

      • Volunteers – Can serve meals/work anytime you want.

    • Supported by generous donations of individuals, companies, churches, schools, community participation, which allows for low food cost

    • Donations

      • Panera Bread – Donates leftover pastries and stuff

      • Individual can donate any non-perishable food items or household items

    • Statistics

      • $2.19 provides a meal for 1 child = $45.00 a week feeds a child

      • Last Year the food service center served 225,000 Meals

 

Questions

  • What is the master plan that has been developed?

    • Increase housing by 50-60 Units

    • Conversion of the Recreation Center to expansion of emergency shelter and adjacent day center

  • Is the Rescue Mission working with local large scale grocery stores like Wegman’s to get their food?

  • How is the Rescue Mission making its presence known to those in need other than the Homeless Intervention Services Team? Is it just word of mouth? If someone is hungry but not homeless, who tells them about the Rescue Mission?

  • How does the Rescue Mission get volunteers?

  • What is the percentage of paid staff vs. volunteers?

  • What is the structure of the hierarchy within the non-profit?

  • Do the chaplains have congregations outside of the rescue mission? Are they paid?

  • What are the success rates of the work placement programs/initiatives?

Critiques

  • They do not provide homeless shelters for women, only men. Does the new master plan having women’s housing in mind?

  • Faith-Based Organization, but it is more progressive than most. They will not force the word of God down your throat along with your food.

  • Transparent Financial Agenda