Monday, January 27, 2014

Foundations assist TEAM to serve Shelton fire victims

Three major Valley funders, the Valley Community Foundation, Valley United Way and the Katharine Matthies Foundation, are helping Derby-based TEAM Inc. serve the Jan. 6 Shelton fire victims.

Shortly after the Jan. 6 blaze that destroyed a city block along Howe Avenue in Shelton TEAM Inc. became the lead agency in helping resettle the fire victims.
The fire displaced 29 people who were living in 23 low-income apartments above the stores destroyed in the fire.

BHCare is helping secure housing for their clients who were affected by the fire and the Red Cross helped fire victims find immediate short-term housing. The majority of the fire victims are being assisted by TEAM Inc.

TEAM Inc. staff has worked tirelessly to help fire victims identify potential housing sources, find donated furniture and clothing and secure security deposits on new apartments.
The work has taken precedence over TEAM's daily operations and has created a significant ripple effect in the amount of work needed to be completed by the Derby-based nonprofit.

As a result, the Valley Community Foundation and the Valley United Way each committed $5,000 and the Katharine Matthies Foundation, for which Bank of America serves as Trustee, donated $7,500 towards TEAM's work to help fire victims cover the costs of initial rent payments and security deposits, which are often double or triple the cost of one month's rent.

 TEAM Inc. also received assistance from The Howe Avenue Relief Fund (created by the Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company 1 that responded to the fire), the state Department of Social Services and New Haven Home Recovery to help fire victims cover move-in costs.
The total estimated cost for helping the fire victims is $20,000.

Thanks to TEAM's tireless work, seven fire victims have already found new apartments, and more are in the process of securing apartments. TEAM has collected enough furniture to help individuals replace what they lost in the fire.

"The United Way is pleased to be able to help the displaced tenants get back on their feet," said Jack Walsh, President and Chief Operating Officer, Valley United Way.
"The efforts of the firemen and other first responders have been incredible and the outpouring of support from the community was exceptional. We are pleased to support TEAM, whose effort is now focused on bringing some normalcy back to the lives of the displaced by getting them into permanent housing."

"Shortly after learning how devastating the fire was, Jack Walsh and I were on the phone to figure out where our resources could best be put to use to help the fire victims. Our Board of Directors quickly agreed that it was important to support TEAM while they take on this unexpected task without diverting their much-needed resources from the community they serve," said Valley Community Foundation President and CEO Sharon Closius.

"We at TEAM were so impressed to see how quickly the entire Valley rallied around the fire victims," said TEAM Inc. President & CEO Richard Knoll.
"We are especially grateful to the Valley's three biggest funders for coming together to help us recover the costs of resettling the victims, which will allow us to continue our regular work of serving the area's economically vulnerable."

About the funders
Thanks to the generosity of Valley donors, hundreds of thousands of grant dollars each year are distributed from the Valley Community Foundation (VCF). In addition to grantmaking, VCF works in strong partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven toward building a stronger community by: working closely with donors to grow and deepen the impact of their philanthropy; identifying and supporting grassroots leadership; and strengthening nonprofits and promoting philanthropy through technical assistance programs.

For more information, visit; find VCF on Facebook and Twitter. 
The Katharine Matthies Foundation was established in 1987 to support and promote quality educational, human services, and health care programming for underserved populations.
Special consideration is given to organizations that work to prevent cruelty to children and animals. The Matthies Foundation specifically serves the people of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. KMF is administered by Bank of America.

Valley United Way is the leading philanthropic resource for the Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton matching the needs of the community and the interests of donors to improve the quality of life in the community. United Way supports and creates initiatives addressing youth, families and people in crisis.

Each year Valley United Way funds programs and organizations that make a measurable difference in the lives of people living and working in the Valley.

This is a press release from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

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