Don Kniseley, Executive Director of Tedford Housing, a supported non-profit Brunswick homeless shelter, discussed the issue of homelessness in Maine and how we might approach solving this problem.
Rotary Meeting for Monday, July 26, 2010 held at the Alfond Youth Center - Here is a recap in case you missed our meeting!

Sergeant at Arms


Jeff Jolicoeur served as our Sergeant of Arms today. Thanks, again Jeff!!!!!



Jim Nicholson was our Greeter today. Thanks, Jim!!

50/50 Tickets


Nikki Desjardins sold $78 for the 50/50 raffle today and Doug Legg Wheeler was the winner of $63. Doug will sell tickets again on August 2nd. Jim Schmidt won 10 free tickets for next week's meeting's 50/50 drawing.

World Service Cup


The recipient of donations for this month's World Service Cup will be determined and announced.

Fined for pictures in the Paper


There were no Rotarians fined for their pictures in the paper this week.

Cell Phones


A $10.00 fee for cell phone ringing continues for the 2009-2010 Club year. No fines assessed today.

On Leave


Joan Phillips-Sandy

Paul LePage

Dan Bickford

Sharon Corwin

Ally Karter

Deb Schmid

Visiting Rotarians and Guests


Jerry Tipper introduced John Campbell and Qiam Amiry from the Afghan Scholars program.

Ann Beverage introduced Don Kniseley, today's speaker and President of the Brunswick Rotary Club.

What can you do?


* Tell Board Members what you are passionate about for community projects

* Tell the program committee about interesting speakers/topics you would like to listen to

* Be involved, join a committee

* Be active

* Be positive

Happy Dollars


In the interest of time, today's Happy Dollars will be carried over to next week.

Special Report


Gerry Tipper introduced John Campbell and Qiam Amiry from the Afghan Scholars Program who were with us to present a report on how they spent the funding the Club provided to them last year. In discussing their work over the past year, they noted that they have significantly developed their contacts within the US and have been able to use the $5000 we gave them to raise another $10,000. With respect to the program, it continues to bring bright and talented high school students to the US. The first 2 students in the program will be matriculating at Williams and at Smith in the Fall. The program has changed somewhat in that before coming to the US, the Students now go through a 6 month "nurturing" program whereby they meet with an advisor and have an American pen pal. They've found that this helps the student become acclimated quicker once they arrive here. Students still go through a rigorous selection process and successful students are in the top 3 in their class rankings. In 2010-11 there will be 8 students. It was noted that with respect to gender, the mix in 2010 is 2 female and 6 males. In 2011, it will be 3 female and 3 male. In re socio economic background, it was reported that they look for strong students in the low-middle class and do not target those specifically in poverty. The hope is that upon completing their education, the students will return and make significant contributions to their country.



There will not be a meeting next week because of the 4th of July Holiday..

.There will be a Rotary Golf Committee meeting after we adjourn.

Nikki shared that she just got a supply of "No Excuse for Domestic Violence' bumper stickers. Members can pick up their sticker from Nikki after the meeting.

Seth shared that we will have our new District Governor attending the meeting on August 2 and that there will be a Board Meeting immediately prior to the regular meeting at 10:30.

Upcoming speaker schedule:


August 2, 2010 District Governor "District Project"

August 9 2010 Senator Libby Mitchell "Candidate for Governor"

August 16, 2010 Lynn Twitchell "WISE Zambia Project Update"

August 23, 2010 Mayor Paul LePage "Candidate for Governor"

August 30 2010 Eliot Cutler "Candidate for Governor"

Waterville Rotary Club Web Site


Today's Program: Ending Homelessness (Don Kniseley, Executive Director of Tedford Housing)

Brunswick Rotary Club President Elect Don Kniseley addressed the Club on ending homelessness. He is the Executive Director of Tedford Housing, a supported non-profit Brunswick homeless shelter.

Don's talk covered 3 areas: 1) the people, 2) what it looks like from the 10,000 ft. point of view, 3) bust some myths 4) how we can end homelessness, and 5) what you can do.

1) The People

The Gorman's

Pat, Jean and Annie are a family even if Annie is a beagle-corgi mix. "She was only eight weeks old when we rescued herâââ?s¬"they were going to put her down because she was in such rough shape. Someone had thrown her out of a vehicle. But we said no and took her in, and Annie is really special to us. She was so traumatizedâââ?s¬"we would hold her for hours and play classical music and now she is remarkable."

Pat and Jean Gorman spent most of the 90's living in Bath. Pat helped to manage the Comfort Suites in Freeport while Jean was a dietary aide at Andover College. In 2007, they decided to return to their native, upstate New York, where they worked at another lodging establishment.

But last year, they realized that they were more Mainers than New Yorkers. "We really missed Maine and this area," says Pat. So, they packed up and moved to Brunswick with $12,000 and Annie.

The money did not last long though, and the Gormans hit a wall. By November they were broke and were about to be evicted from the New Meadows Cottages. "I just couldn't find a jobâââ?s¬"and I have worked all of my life. We didn't know what to do. We stopped at the soup kitchen (Mid Coast Hunger Prevention) and asked who might be able to help."

And so, just before Thanksgiving, the Gormans found themselves in the Tedford Housing adult shelter. On the first night of their stay, Pat had to sleep on the living room sofa as there was no bed for a male available. "We had never been homeless; we have worked all of our lifeâââ?s¬"to be in a homeless shelter, it was an eye opener. For us, it was a tough choice to come here because people have such a stigma about being homeless."

"The hardest part for us was probably the separation, says Patâââ?s¬"especially when Jean was sick. It's really hard when you can't kiss your wife good night. Every night after dinner, we would take a walkâââ?s¬"that's what helped us get through this."


At age eighteen, Karen (not her real name) is pretty, engaging, and bright. And for the last two years she has been homeless and pretty much on her own.

"Things were not working out at home. I left to stay with friends. Over the last couple of years, I have had seven different addresses.

"Being without a home was pretty difficult," says Karen. "You have to get used to not owning a lot of things and having stuff taken from you. For three months I lived in a tent with my boyfriend in a relative's yard. We could only go inside to get a bath or to use the phone. I didn't feel very good about myself."

Then, the school social worker suggested that I talk with Donna Verhoeven at the Merrymeeting Project," says Karen The Merrymeeting Project was started fourteen years ago to help homeless and at-risk young people. It is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered by the Maine Department of Education. Last year, it became a program of Tedford Housing

"My focus is to keep these kids safe and in school," says Donna. "I have a caseload of around 35 to 45 and they all have lots of problems. Nearly all of them have a history of trauma and troubled families. Their lack of stability and permanent housing creates stress on their health, leading to school attendance and performance issues."

Asked how Donna helped, Karen pauses. "I guess mostly by just keeping me in school. I really had no ambitions; I didn't know what to do or where I was going." Now she is taking evening classes and plans to complete her GED soon. She hopes to study nursing at Southern Maine Community College next year.

Karen is now looking to get into a more structured residential program for young people. She is also on the wait list at Vocation Rehabilitation for both employment opportunities and transportation.

"Many of the young people that engage with the program have to first address some very basic life needs that would be considered daunting as adults," says Donna. "They often struggle to remain anonymous among their school peers and balance daily basis needsâââ?s¬"such as food, clothing, medical coverage, mental health coverage, transportation, employment and stable housingâââ?s¬"while trying to succeed academically."

"Often what is lost in this struggle to survive is the passage of youth. They often don't share many of the experiences typical of their peers such as movies with friends, trips to fast-food restaurants, dances and family celebrations. But though they may lack in social experience, many of them inspire in their sheer determination to succeed."

And then there is Kyle. Kyle is a Vietnam Vet., a likeable guy, a caring person, but he is, by almost any definition, a late stage alcoholic. He was in and out of our adult shelter for years until, 2007 when he moved to Everett Apartments, one of Tedford Housing's permanent, supportive housing projects. Kyle is no longer homelessâââ?s¬"he is not in a shelter, he is not on the streetsâââ?s¬"we helped solve Kyle's homelessness.

2) From 10,000 Feet

Scope of the problem: About 8,000 people /yr., 12% chronic h. (1 year of homelessness or 4 episodes in 3 years) 48% single adults, episodic, 20% families 1600 (450-650 households, 9% DV and 11% unaccompanied youth

Why do we have homelessness: There are a lot of reasons. The handout is as good of a summary as any. Basically what we see are: loss of income, family break-up & domestic violence, mental illness, and substance abuse.

3: Myth Busters:

* Homeless people don't want to work.

Reality: On average 17% are employed at admission. Many more obtained employment during their stay. Most of the people we see have disabling disabilities or want to secure employment.

* All of the people staying at shelters are from away.

Reality: Over 80% of families at our emergency shelter last year were from our service areaâââ?s¬"Freeport to Waterboro. PIT: 84% from ME; 13% from out of stateâââ?s¬"but most have connections here.

* There is plenty of money for shelters and services for homeless people.

% decrease in shelter per diem rate for 2010. Change in rule for TCM : up $100,000 plus another 10% decrease in rate. All other public funds (including United Way) are level funding for the past 6 years (exception of FEMA funds).

How We Can End Homelessness

The message of the SHC: Our shelters are full and people are in great need. However, we know how to end this problem and we will do it when we have the resources.

We can pretty much end homelessness with 3 things:

1) affordable, decent housing

2) rental subsidies

3) services

If we had these and an efficient way to integrate them and connect them with people, we could close shelters.

Common goal of Maine's Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness:

Permanent housing appropriate to individual or family needs with an adequate support network.

We know that supportive housing works. The Effectiveness of Permanent Supportive Housing in ME., 10/09

In rural ME:

37% reduction in service costs

54% reduction in mental health costs

ER 15%; Incarceration 91%; ambulance 16%

Urban ME: average cost savings of $135 annually (24% chronically)

Rural ME: average cost savings of $2,751 (six months)

403 X $2,751 = $1,108,653.00 (PIT)

1,000 X 2,751 = $2.7 million (assuming that 12.5% of homeless are rural)

And it is the right thing to do: reported greater quality of life and greater independence

What Can You Do?

Help raise money to fund services/operations

Do maintenance projects

Help us tell the story of homelessness and how to end it.

After Don's presentation, Seth honored him with a certificate noting that 6 children will receive polio vaccinations in his name as a token of appreciation and with the thanks and best wishes of the Club