Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA To Host
Neighborhood Open House Week

The MHA is inviting all its friends and neighbors in the four blocks surrounding our facility at 1101 Peach St. to call and make an appointment to visit us during our Neighborhood Open House Week, May 18-22, 2015. Participants will get a packet of information about services at the MHA, have an information/Q&A meeting with a senior staff member and take a tour of our building. We know our neighbors are all busy so we pledge to keep the experience to a half hour. For many in our neighborhood their exposure to MHA has been only what they see happening around the exterior of the building which, at times can be disconcerting as we do see, and try to assist some individuals with serious behavior problems. What they don't get to see is what is happening inside the MHA where literally hundreds of mental health consumers annually are working on maintaining themselves in our community or actively pursuing recovery from mental illness using peer driven/run programming.

We hope to have a busy Neighborhood Open House Week. If you are one of our neighbors or are an interested friend, please call Bill at 452-4462 x100 to schedule a time to visit. Not available May 18-22? That's OK. You are welcome to call anytime and we will make arrangements to meet. The staff and consumers at MHA are proud of what we all do to make this organization a meaningful experience for anyone with mental health needs.

Warming Center at MHA IconAnother Successful
Warming Center At MHA
Season

Well, another long, cold winter has passed and the Warming Center at MHA is very unlikely to see any further activity for this year. Spring is here and we are all grateful for warmer temperatures and the hope of a peaceful summer. We at MHA are also tremendously grateful for the outpouring of good will and financial support that was generated by longstanding friends of the Warming Center at MHA as well as some terrific new friends. We were pleased and proud to have been honored by significant financial support from the Employees Community Services Fund of General Electric, Bob Evans' Restaurants (especially the Harborcreek store), the Catholic Diocese of Erie, National Fuel Gas Co. and the Wegman Family (Peach St. store). With their help, and that of literally hundreds of individuals, congregations, businesses, schools and clubs, MHA was able to cover the expense of being open 79 nights serving 434 individuals this winter. Thanks to everyone's generosity we are also in a much better financial position to be prepared to enter into the next winter season.

That being said, however, we are already in fundraising mode for the 2015-16 season. The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is coming up June 6th and MHA needs your help to surpass the $13,000 we raised at last year's Walk. We would love to have you join the MHA staff and board members by registering to walk with us on a beautiful Saturday morning at Presque Isle. Watch for details on our website.

THANK YOU ERIE!!

Wegman Stores IconWegman's
Joins Supporters Of
The Warming Center At MHA

We were thrilled to get a call last month from Erie’s Peach St. Wegman's announcing that the Wegman Family wanted to donate to the MHA in support of the Warming Center at MHA. Winter may be winding down and I know we are all eager to see Spring arrive, but Wegman's is leading the way into raising the funds we will need to make us ready for the next Winter season. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Wegman family for the $1,000 donation as we welcome them into our family of MHA supporters. If you aren't already a Wegman's shopper, please consider doing business at the Peach St. store both for the great selection and to support a community minded enterprise.

Bob Evans Restaurant LogoHarborcreek Bob Evans' Making It
A Happy Easter At MHA

Thanks go out again to Sean McCullough and the staff at the Harborcreek Bob Evans' Restaurant. Sean and his crew are donating an Easter Dinner for the mental health consumers at MHA. We are very grateful for the generosity behind this donation but also for the commitment of both the Harborcreek Bob Evans' and the regional Bob Evans' office for their support to MHA. Recovery from the impact of mental illness in one's life is a worthy challenge which becomes more real with the support of the community. Bob Evans' has been at our side throughout the winter as we provided overnight shelter for over 400 persons on Erie's coldest nights and their spirit as well as great Bob Evans' food was at the table for holiday meals offered this year.

I'm The Evidence IconI'm The Evidence Award
Nomination Sought

Nominations are now being accepted for persons in recovery from mental illness who exemplify recovery principles. If you are aware of a mental health consumer who is working hard to successfully pursue their personal life goals while accommodating a mental illness, please consider nominating him/her for an "I'm The Evidence" Award. Nominations must be received by April 29, 2015 to be considered. Nominations will be reviewed by committee and selected nominees will be presented with an award at the Annual Mental Health Month event at the MHA on Wed. May 13, 2015. Please be sure that the person you want to nominate is willing to participate in the award ceremony. We also request that the person nominating the individual attend the ceremony if at all possible.

Nomination forms are available below for print and download or call MHA at 452-4462 and we will email, fax or send a form to you.

ITE Award Nomination ~

Second Chance Computers LogoSecond Chance Computer Program
On Hold For Lack Of
Good Used Laptops

The highly successful Second Chance Computer Program at MHA that provides training for mental health consumers who are not computer literate and whose graduates get to keep the working order, donated used laptop computers on which they train, has come to a grinding halt. Why? We have run out of our supply of donated laptops.

We are in urgent need and we know there are individuals and businesses out there that have laptops that are fully functional but have outlived their use in a rapidly changing technological environment. These computers are exactly what MHA and recovering mental health consumers need to join the 21st century world of communication and opportunity.

Please! If you or your place of employment have these laptops gathering dust, clean out the hard drives and contact MHA. We can use them to open minds and decrease the barriers facing those mental health consumers who have been left behind in the digital divide.

Warming Center at MHA IconTHANKS
For The Clothing Donations

As always, we at MHA have been blessed with huge quantities of clothing this year to help make sure persons without resources could stay warm and comfortable this winter. Now that the season is winding down and the Warming Center will be open less frequently we are no longer in need of clothing donations. Thanks to all of you out there who have so generously scoured you closets and made sure we had plenty of warm, dry clothing for our guests. We still have an ample supply to finish out the winter and have some to offer through summer and the start of next winter. Come November we will again be accepting clothing donations. Until then, know we are very grateful for your support over this very cold winter.

The "e" Comes To The Aid Of Homeless Again
On The Coldest Mornings

Thanks go out again this year to Mike Tann and the "e" for providing bus transportation between the Overflow Shelter and the Bishop's Breakfast held in Fellowship Hall at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. When the morning wind chills are forecast at below 0 temperatures, we have contacted Mike and, as he did last winter, he arranges a bus to arrive at the Overflow Shelter at 7:15 to pick up anyone who needs to get to the breakfast. This service is a lifesaver when temperatures are so low that frostbite and hypothermia can be a real threat to someone outdoors for any period of time with inadequate clothing. We truly have much to be thankful for in respect to helping our community members who are less fortunate and we can be proud of our public transportation service for being a reflection of Erie’s compassion.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHANP Annual Report
for 2013 - 2014 released

Our Annual Report for 2013 - 2014 has been made available.

Annual Report 2014 ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA Recieves Grant
To Address Stigma

The Non-Profit Partnership (NPP) awarded a Capacity Building Grant to assist MHA in promoting a more positive image of mental health consumers to the public. MHA will use this $5,000 grant to collect a variety of recovery stories from local mental health consumers and then identify low or no cost ways of getting those stories before the public. Video, print and oral presentations will be gathered.

This is an exciting opportunity for MHA and we already have several consumers who are preparing to help gather the stories and another group interested in telling their stories. Be looking for our media campaign in 2015.

Thanks NPP for the financial support.

A quick guide to some housing resources for people experiencing homelessness

Warming Center at MHA

[…]

The Warming Center at MHA opens its doors whenever the overnight temperature will be 25 degrees or less, accepting anyone who needs to come in from the cold during overnight hours. All are welcome while they abide by basic rules of mutual respect. MHA provides shelter, safety, food, coffee, activities, conversation, support, and a place to "nap" for those needing to rest. Click on Icon just above this column.


Erie County Care Management Homeless Case Management
814.528.0600

[…]

Best to call early in the morning or late afternoon or most likely you will need to leave a message and number for them to call back. They can meet with you at their office or somewhere in the community. Homeless Case Management can be a good resource way to help someone with a mental health need find a place to live. Homeless case managers have expertise and resources others may not have. The case managers are in the emergency shelters almost every day.


United Methodist Alliance Project Hope
814.456.5670

[…]

Project Hope has very active outreach workers. They can meet with you in the community. Project Hope workers often can meet with people in the evenings as well as the daytime. Project Hope has resources others may not.


Over-flow shelter information
814.459.5765

[…]

The over-flow shelter location rotates through the community. Call to find the location and times it is open.

The Internship Experience at the MHA

Several college seniors from universities within the tri state area have spent a semester at the MHA. We have asked our recent interns to express their impression of their experience with us.

Highlights Regional

Candidates Forum Held At MHA

On Thursday, April 16, NW PA Pride Alliance Inc and the MHA jointly held a candidate forum at MHA's office, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA attended by over 30 individuals. The forum addressed both LGBT and mental health related issues. Candidates attending included Elvage Murphy for Erie County Court of Common Pleas, John Morgan for Millcreek Supervisor, and Nathaniel Strasser for Magistrate, 5th Ward, as well as Erie City Council candidates Sonya Arrington, Gary Grack, Bob Merski, Rebecca Styn, Richard Wagner, and Jon Whaley. Trish Catalano, candidate for Erie County Council District 5, also attended. Attendees had the opportunity to hear the candidates' views in a panel format and there was time before and after the formal presentation for individual questions and socializing. Thanks go out to Diana Ames for coordinating, Kelly Kidd for moderating, Matthew Robison for taking photos, Season Crannell, Rita Wheeler, LuAnn Gossett, Bill Grove, Lenny Ginnery and Michael Mooney for support.

Compassionate Action Project IconCompassionate Actions Project (CAP)
Food Pantry

Compassionate Actions Project Food Pantry at the Mental Health Association opened July 22, 2014. Since we opened we have offered a healthful selection of foods to approximately 40 to 50 MHA members each month. Simple and tasty recipes and free literature are also offered at the CAP Food Pantry!

Photo of food distribution tables

We appreciate the kind and caring people who volunteer their time to make the CAP Food Pantry at MHA possible. Thank you Rita, Andy, Chris, Mary, Marty, Russell and Katherine for keeping the food pantry running smoothly each month!

Our food pantry’s non-refrigerated foods are carefully selected each month. In keeping within our organization’s mission we appreciate only plant based food donations. Please see the CAP website for foods that we offer.

On the food pantry day (usually the 4th Tuesday of the month), we ask that you please consider donating fresh produce! Fresh vegetables and fruits are always appreciated if donated before 12:30 PM on the day we distribute food.

Spirituality & Mental Health Recovery Conference

The 13th Annual Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Conference will be held May 6, 2015 at the Masonic Temple, 32 West 8th St, Erie, PA. Registration is at 10:00AM. For more information, contact LuAnn Gossett at 814.452.4462 X 126. Registrations can be made using the enclosed form.

Registration and Information ~

"Make it a Home Always" recognized by HUD

From:Region III HUDLine News, February 2015. Reprinted with permission:

Make It a Home Always!

Landlords Stand Ready to Deliver Housing to the Homeless in Erie.

Sometimes the right people come together to do the right thing at the right time. That is certainly true in Erie, Pa.

"Make It a Home Always" is a HUD funded program of the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA. Seemingly, it works with the most difficult residents to place including those who have been incarcerated, who have been diagnosed with mental illness and who are currently homeless and seeking an apartment in the private housing market. But, that is not the case in Erie. Debra Geotz, a private landlord, states she is honored to be involved in this tenant landlord relationship.

The question posed to Clifton McNair III, a Housing Case Manager, was this: "What makes this program so successful?"

In part the answer lies with the work done by Clifton, over time, with each and every one of the ten landlords involved in this program. Relationships are cultivated and fostered with landlords through monthly contact.

Landlords are paid at the end of month for the next month; landlords are given 24 hour access to the housing case manager, and have access to a landlord repair fund, if needed, for damages done by tenants not just wear and tear.

There is a genuine relationship between the agency, tenant and landlord. Communication lines are always open and maintained seamlessly.

Lastly, social service referral and linkage is navigated by the housing case manager and the tenant together.

The two year goal is to re-integrate all tenants into self-sufficiency, and that is exactly what is happening through these extraordinary efforts.

Community Care, Erie County, Meeting Schedule

Community Care, a nonprofit managed care organization, announces the schedule for the upcomming advisory meetings.

Meetings for Community Care Adult Members:
Adult Members Meetings ~

Meetings for Families of Members:
Family Meetings ~

The Community Support Program (CSP) of PennsylvaniaWestern Region CSP
Schedule for 2015

The Community Support Program (CSP) of Pennsylvania is a coalition of mental health consumers, family members and professionals working to help adults with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders live successfully in the community.

Meeting Information ~

MHANP routinely attends these meetings and all members are encouraged to participate. The exact time and date is listed monthly in our Schedule of Activities.

Schedule of Activities ~

MH Advance Directive

Mental Health Advance Directive is available online.