FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 29, 2015
UESF Veterans Outreach named Champion in Action in Veterans Support Category
Citizens Bank, NBC10/Telemundo62, Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com
provide $35,000 in funding, PR and volunteer support
PHILADELPHIA June 29 2015 – – Citizens Bank, NBC10/Telemundo62 and Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, recognized UESF (Utility Emergency Services Fund) as a 2015 Champion in Action® in the category of veterans support. UESF will receive $35,000 in unrestricted funding, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its outstanding work.
“UESF is honored to receive the Champions in Action Award and we extend our sincerest appreciation to Citizens Bank, Philadelphia Media Network. NBC10 and Telemundo62 for this amazing recognition,” said John Rowe, Executive Director of UESF. “This award will go a long way to help us continue our work to stabilize housing for veterans and their families by addressing their immediate needs and by removing barriers to long-term stability by providing wrap-around and support services. We are extremely grateful to Citizens Bank, NBC10 and Philadelphia Media Network for this generous program which invests in local communities.”
The award honors UESF for its work providing direct housing placement and supportive services for veterans who are homeless and those at-risk for becoming homeless. Among the more effective components of UESF’s Veterans program are the Veteran Engagement Partners (VEPs), a street outreach team that identifies and engages homeless veterans throughout Philadelphia. The VEPs are comprised of veterans and former clients who have experienced housing challenges and can relate to the needs of other veterans in similar circumstances.
“Citizens Bank is pleased to name UESF as the latest Champion in Action for its work helping veterans and their families in the Greater Philadelphia region,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, President of Citizens Bank for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “Since 2013, the organization has been working with local veterans to overcome homelessness by enrolling more than 279 veterans in need and distributing more than $625,000 in basic needs assistance to them. To date, 80 percent of their clients have been successfully housed or have retained their housing.”
Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for small nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout Pennsylvania. To date, the program has awarded 39 nonprofits more than one million dollars in grants and promotional support in Philadelphia.
“NBC10 and Telemundo62 are pleased to recognize UESF for its work with veterans throughout our area,” said Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62. “With a team of staff, volunteers and community partners, UESF is able to provide housing placement, rent, utilities, emergency food, transportation, furniture and other much needed household items.”
“Philadelphia Media Network is proud to recognize UESF in its continued work to help those who have served our country and now find themselves in need,” said Stan Wischnowski, Vice President of News Operations for Philadelphia Media Network. “UESF’s support for mainstream and VA benefits, legal referrals, employment and training, self-sufficiency education to help their clients with stable employment, and its work to provide safe housing is very honorable.”
UESF was surprised with the award June 29th during NBC10 News at 11 a.m. As a Champion in Action, UESF Vet Outreach receives the following over the next six months:
About UESF Veterans Outreach Program
Those who serve our country often return to challenges that can threaten housing stability. UESF works with Veterans and Veteran families who are experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of losing their homes. Our range of services helps them acquire the resources to become stable. Using a housing-first case management model, UESF provides services including housing acquisition and landlord negotiation, VA benefit assistance, mainstream benefits, legal assistance referrals, self-sufficiency education, and temporary financial assistance when needed.
For more information contact UESF’s Veterans’ Program at 215-814-6888 or visit the website http://www.uesfacts.org/our-programs/veterans-program/
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $136.5 billion in assets as of March 31, 2015. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in select markets nationwide. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance. Citizens operates through its subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at www.citizensbank.com.
About NBC10 Philadelphia / WCAU
Owned by NBCUniversal, NBC10 Philadelphia has been delivering local news, information and weather for more than 60 years, serving nearly six million viewers throughout Greater Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Viewers turn to NBC10 for the most up-to-date breaking news and weather on a variety of platforms, including online at nbc10.com and via mobile and social platforms. COZI TV, the station’s multicast network, offers a full schedule of America’s most beloved and iconic television series and hit movies as well as local programming. COZI TV can be seen on Comcast channel 248, Verizon channel 460 and over-the-air on digital 10.2.
Telemundo62 / WWSI is Telemundo’s local television station, serving Spanish-speaking viewers in the greater Philadelphia area, including 18 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Owned by NBCUniversal, Telemundo62 is co-located with sister station NBC10 Philadelphia / WCAU. In January 2014, Telemundo62 launched Noticiero Telemundo62, a locally produced, live Spanish-language newscast that airs weekdays at 5:30 PM, 6 PM and 11 PM. Noticiero Telemundo62 provides in-depth coverage of issues of importance to the Greater Delaware Valley region and delivers up-to-the-minute news, information, weather and sports. Viewers can also turn to Telemundo62 online at Telemundo62.com and via mobile and social media channels.
About Philadelphia Media Network
With their multiple brand platforms and integrated print and digital products, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News Weekend and Philly.com comprise the region’s largest media network and the industry’s technological leader and innovator. The publications/website reach an average weekly audience of 1.7 million adults in the 8-county area – more than the combination of the four late evening television news shows or the combination of the top 5 most-listened-to local radio stations during morning drive-time programming.
UESF Contact Tina Floyd 215-814-6822 UESF Social Media Contact Nancy Bragin 215-512-2900
Citizens Bank Contact Moira Baylson 267-671-1081
NBC10 Contact Kimberly Walker 610-668-5616
Philadelphia Media Network Contact Amy Buckman 215-854-5790
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This Memorial Day Weekend, let’s thank and remember who it’s all about – those that served. The UESF Vet Outreach staff is geared up, ready to help. Know a homeless or at-risk veteran who someone who served? Call the Vet Hotline at 215-814-6888.
The UESF Vet Outreach Program is doing great work, having a major impact on getting all homeless vets off of the streets and into stable housing. But they need your help. Corporate Sponsors are needed for donations of bedding, clothes, workboots, socks, SEPTA tokens and monetary donations for immediate in getting those that served back on their feet. If you can help email Nancy Bragin at firstname.lastname@example.org with our thanks! Let’s say thank you this Memorial Day weekend, and let them know we care.
For Release: Immediately
For Further Information: Email Tina Floyd email@example.com
Media Contact: Nancy Bragin firstname.lastname@example.org
UESF Veterans Outreach Team Meets up with Recording Artist Lil Wayne in Philly
Philadelphia PA — The UESF Vet Outreach Team is as dedicated as they come, scouring the streets of Philadelphia 24/7, reaching out to homeless and at-risk vets offering them conversation, food, clothing, and a ride to the UESF offices where if eligible, they can sign up for complete holistic housing aid. Charles from the Outreach Team ran into recording artist Lil Wayne recently who give a “thumbs up” to efforts to bring veterans home.
The UESF Vet Outreach Program helps veterans and veteran families who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless, offering a range of supportive services to help stabilize housing and help veterans acquire the resources necessary to keep them stable. For more information call the Veterans Hotline at 215-814-6888 or visit the UESF website at http://www.uesfacts.org/homelessveterans.html Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UESFHomelessVetHelp
No, they do not know who Doug Oliver is. Some of them don’t even know its an election year, let alone the names of the candidates. Some of them are drunk to the point of speechlessness. Some just want you to know that C is the largest letter in the alphabet. But neither are those problems that couldn’t be found in the city’s homes.
Meanwhile there are others — homeless and formerly homeless — who are sober and deep in the struggle. They want to partake in democracy and for their voices to be heard. They have names. They have stories. And they have questions for the next mayor of Philadelphia if anyone will ask them.
Fine police officers who make the homeless sleep out in the cold. I wish I could smile more for this picture, but I ain’t got no teeth. – William Smith
“Here I am, an old man,” he said.
William’s family is originally from Georgia. He moved up here more than five years ago to work in a furniture store in the Northeast, but then he had a major stroke, the company went belly-up, and he couldn’t collect unemployment.
He sleeps in Suburban Station, sometimes Market East. On subzero nights, he said, the police let him and other homeless persons sleep on the unused tracks. But three nights a week on average, a SEPTA Transit officer will wake him up around 4 a.m. and tell him to get out of the station. When asked why he doesn’t go to the shelters, he cited numerous bad experiences of younger men taking advantage of, and stealing from, the older men.
“Homeless people got enough problems without someone telling you you got to get out,” he wants the next mayor to know. “They don’t even put dogs out in the cold like that around here. They fine you. So they should fine these transit policeman that got such good jobs and tell them that they shouldn’t do that. They’ve got money, they can pay the fine. And then maybe they’ll stop.”
William added that he is a registered democrat who has voted twice in Philadelphia. He believes in voting. But he doesn’t understand how he moved to Philadelphia to pay one of the highest wage taxes in the country, and yet when he ended up jobless, homeless, and with a medical condition, he felt there was no one there to help.
More access to information about homeless services. – Tauliba
A stocky man wearing two sweatshirts approaches Tauliba while she’s selling One Step Away newspapers at 15th and JFK Boulevard. He says he’s no bum, he just needs 75 cents to get home. One Step Away vendors can make a dollar a day or 30 dollars a day — but by no standard is it ever much. Tauliba doesn’t think twice. She pulls out four quarters from her pocket, puts them in the stocky man’s palm, and tells him to “have a blessed one.”
“You’re either going to say yes or no,” she said. “I don’t know if he’s getting on the bus, but he said he’s getting on the bus. You either choose to do it or you don’t. I’m not saying to give out all your money to every person that asks, but God will put it on your heart.”
Tauliba was outraged at a story she read in the Metro last week, which tried to make a moral case against giving money to the homeless. The article makes its claim and then gets a few quotes to corroborate the point that, even though they sometimes do need money for food, homeless people are likely drug-addicts and alcoholics at the end of the day.
Nothing is going to get done if we keep closed mouths and closed hearts.
“That’s not everyone’s story out here,” she said. “Nothing is going to get done if we keep closed mouths and closed hearts.”
When her family couldn’t take care of her at age 16, Tauliba spent two years homeless on Philly streets. At the time, she didn’t know what services were available to the homeless. “Maybe I was too stubborn,” she said, “but I didn’t know how to get help, and there was no way for me to know.”
Her request for the next mayor? Increased access to information.
Even today, people stop her on the street and ask how to get to the social security office. She’s mindful that not everyone has internet access, and admits that she doesn’t either, despite having a home now. She’s mindful of the illiteracy among the homeless, and even though she says it may sound bad, she suggests always putting the word FREE to bring the homeless in — “because when somebody sees free, they look at it.”
Tauliba also believes there should be more people on the streets informing the homeless first hand about what they can do. She says there need to be more programs for men — from literacy to house placement to job-training. And she also says the city needs to reexamine how these social welfare programs work, because even homeless people don’t want to spend half of their lives in a waiting room with no guarantee of help.
Repeal the ban on feeding the homeless. – Jerame Bohman Jerame collects money in Center City — but not for himself. He panhandles for others, guided by memories of hunger.
In 1994, his mother fled an abusive boyfriend in Tennessee and came to Philly with her two sons. They survived for months in a cramped ’79 Cadillac, begging for money on Bustleton Avenue and Red Lion Road in the Northeast. He remembers nights sweating next to his brother in the back of the car.
It was the generosity strangers poured out that allowed them to get an apartment in the Mayfair neighborhood, and Jerame, now in his mid-30s, is trying to pay that kindness forward.
He plans on going back to school to complete his culinary degree, and to keep the food coming for the city.
For the next mayor of Philadelphia, he has a clear message.
“I don’t appreciate the ordinance against feeding the homeless,” he said. “I think they should repeal it. Who are they to tell us not to feed the homeless? We’re the people, for the people, by the people.”
I paid my debt. Let me get my life started. – Stephan Burnside
December 20, 2014, Stephen walked away from a 20-year sentence in an upstate prison and went right to being homeless. Yes, he was convicted of manslaughter as a young man. He’s honest about that. And now, he’s a tired old ex-con with gray-flecked hair asking for donations on the street. His only surviving family member, his brother, is doing life.
“I did two decades in jail, I come home, and now this is what I got to go through,” he said. “I want to learn how to read and write.”
Stephan said he doesn’t know what sort of resources there are for an old ex-con. He collects food stamps and medical services through welfare, but in the two months since his release he’s made no headway on housing, literacy, or job-skill training. To the next mayor he has a simple message:
“I paid my debt. Let me get myself started.”
If you see a homeless person sleeping outside in dangerously low temperatures, please call the Project H.O.M.E. Homeless Outreach Hotline: 215-232-1984.
Photo: Max Marin / AL DÍA News
By Max Marin
March 2, 2015