Mental Health America of Dutchess County, based at 253 Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie serves over 5,000 people per year. Part of the programming within the organization is Mel's Place. Mel's Place is a daytime homeless shelter. At any given time we have over 60 people attending this drop in center each day. The reason most people in and around Poughkeepsie are not aware of the extent of homelessness in Dutchess County is because of Mel's Place.
Our experience of the homeless of Dutchess County is that they are kind and caring individuals who, despite not having a permanent place to reside at the time, have pride in the area they live. Far too often people in the community experience a few homeless or mentally ill people in Poughkeepsie because those particular people may be struggling and causing disruptions. This unfortunately paints a broad stripe of all homeless in a negative light. We want to change that perception by having our clients display very positive behaviors which exhibit a Pride and Ownership in Poughkeepsie.
The goal of this project will be to identify one block sectors working out from the Family Partnership. These sectors will include Mansion Square Park. Volunteers will be solicited from our homeless program and from our other programs. These volunteers (2 or 3 at a time), will be tasked with reporting to a specific sector. The goal would be to work their way around the block picking up all trash they see and bagging it. Our expectation would be that we would identify different sectors on average 1-2 times per week.
Once the job is complete the individuals would be given a $5.00 gift card.At the end of the year a pizza party will be held with all participants for the year and elected officials would be invited as well.
Funded by Poughkeepsie, NY (July 2017)