Friday, August 22, 2008

United Way comes through for Community Mediation, Inc.

Community Mediation, Inc. will use grants to help the homeless and to help the public get involved in public life

NEW HAVEN — United Way of Greater New Haven has provided two grants to Community Mediation, Inc., totalling $55,000, to provide a second year of funding for the Network for Civic Engagement and to support the Homelessness Intervention Program.
The network is a collaboration of about 30 nonprofit organizations, funders and community groups that "seek to engage residents in dialogue, deliberation and more to foster participation in public life," according to a prepared statement.
"We are excited to be expanding the network with help from the United Way of Greater New Haven, Gateway Community College, Yale University, the New Haven Free Public Library, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and many others, to involve hundreds of New Haven area residents in making all our communities better places for our children and grandchildren," Community Mediation Executive Director Charlie Pillsbury said in the statement.
With the funding, the network expects to increase its visibility in Greater New Haven, develop civic engagement tools and resources, and involve more community residents in civic engagement projects, the statement said. The network also will work on a national initiative with Everyday Democracy in East Harford to bring people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds together for dialogue about the impact of immigration on New Haven’s future. The dialogue is to develop concerted actions to strengthen the community, the statement said
With its funding, the Homelessness Intervention Program aims to help families in Branford, East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, North Haven and West Haven with security deposits. Community Mediation also receives HIP funding from the New Haven, through the city’s Emergency Shelter Grant, to help New Haven families only, the statement said.
"In 2007-2008, Community Mediation helped approximately 60 families move into independent, secure and affordable housing by not only providing security deposit assistance, but also educating both tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities. According to our last follow up contacts in May, 2008, approximately 70 percent of the families we helped were still in the same housing after one year," CM Associate Director Brenda Cavanaugh said in the statement.
CM Housing Mediator Cristina Urrutia added: "Recently, we had a client whose husband was dealing drugs. She wanted to remove her two young children from this dangerous environment. Her husband told her that she would never make it without him. She came to us for help because she did not have enough money to move into a new apartment. Within one month, we paid almost 90 percent of her security deposit with HIP funds and her first month’s rent with FEMA funds. We then helped her get furnishings for free through CM’s membership in the new Furniture Co-op."
Community Mediation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that promotes peaceful communities and just relationships by enabling individuals, families, organizations and communities to resolve conflicts themselves through mediation, dialogue, training, facilitation and education Visit
United Way of Greater New Haven brings together the caring power of the community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. Together with community partners, United Way identifies the region’s greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raises dollars and invest those dollars for results and connects people to their caring through volunteer opportunities. For more information about United Way’s community leadership and how to help, visit

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