Jay Street Recovery and the Value of Collaboration
Most transition needs met, recovery continues for some
Out of tragedy often emerges hope and transformation.
That is one of the lessons learned from our collective experience in developing a recovery program to support the survivors of the Jay Street fire. The effort is a concrete demonstration of a strong, resilient community -- all Schenectadians should be proud of how people and organizations stepped up to help.
As of May 20th, nearly all of those displaced have found permanent housing. There are a handful of others who are still in temporary situations, but community organizations like SCAP, Bethesda House, Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army continue to work with them to advance their progress and to ensure that they are connected resources.
Despite the lack of additional staff or funding, these agencies, among others, have stepped up to work hand in hand to ensure that there is no wrong door for those seeking assistance, and to maximize the use of every available public and private resource. The collaboration formed within the community in response to crisis speaks for itself -- it is a defining characteristic of the current alignment of health and human service agencies in the community.
The value of the resulting benefit goes well beyond the more than $60,000 that has been donated to the Rebuilding Families Fund. The investment of time and expertise of caring professionals, additional donations of money and in-kind items from people and groups such as the newly formed Millenials Council, and the coordination of government services and assistance with private agencies, is considerable. These are all factors that multiply any one single contribution many times over. Donors should take stock of the importance of how, through the work of many hands, their contributions achieves collective impact.
We wish such disasters didn't happen. But when they do, it's heartening to see the strength of Schenectady's resilience, compassion and determination. On behalf of our coalition of helping organizations, thank you to everyone who has contributed in some way to the response and recovery effort.
Robert A. Carreau, Executive Director
The Schenectady Foundation