Cornerstone Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Rockville,
Connecticut, a former textile mill city about 15 miles northeast of
The Foundation was started in 1982 by Helen Syriac, a local resident and
parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Vernon. She was so moved by the
death of a homeless man, Vern Cook, that she decided to create a place
for caring and sharing. She went to her Pastor, and asked him if they
could use the church library as a shelter. "If one person was
seeking shelter, there must be others," she reasoned.
Her Pastor agreed, and the first shelter for the homeless in the
Vernon area was opened at Sacred Heart Church. During the first year,
143 people were sheltered, many of whom were single mothers with
children. This original shelter still exists today.
Helen felt a strong urge to open a "drop-in" center in
Rockville, to provide a Christian environment for those who needed a
listening ear. She called a few friends, shared the vision, and prayed.
An initial site was identified, and after praying for the start-up
money, within a few hours a person called and offered a jar of coins he
had saved for several years. It was the exact amount needed!
From that humble beginning, The Cornerstone Foundation has become the
multi-faceted community resource it is today.
Cornerstone Foundation P.O. Box 2036 Rockville, CT 06066-1436
Tri-Town Shelter Services, Inc. is a
fifteen bed facility providing temporary housing, compassionate care,
competent case management, and the effective coordination of services
resulting in personal growth and productivity.
Shelter Services, Inc. is currently overseen by a Board of Directors.
Since 1986 the program has been led by a Board of Directors and
full-time Executive Director. There are 6 shift supervisors, 5 part-time
staff and 1 part-time bookkeeper. Although there have been many changes
through the years, our mission has remained constant. While residents
are in a safe environment, with the support of compassionate and
competent staff, they have the opportunity to reclaim responsible
control over their lives while experiencing hope, healing, and
To provide a
safe, stable, and supportive environment for individuals and families to
address their challenges in ways that promote their development as
productive and contributing members of the community.
Shelter Services' Values
- Our top priority is client
care with integrity, respect and compassion.
- Our most valuable asset is our staff.
- Partnerships and volunteers make a difference.
- Strength is found in diversity.
- All individuals should be empowered to be all
that they can be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and
- Each of us are vessels of change and vehicles
- Empathy, encouragement, equipping, and
education are always the best practice to achieve
- Community is an essential element in each
- Everyone needs long lasting relationships with
- Collaboration and teamwork with others
produces the best results.
- Accountability brings out the best in each of
- Our success depends on a broad base of
Shelter Services Phone: (860)
875-9702 Fax: (860)
875-6804 P.O. Box 28 Vernon, CT 06066
Partnership for Strong Communities is a non-profit thought leader and
policy advocacy organization focused on fostering vibrant communities,
eliminating homelessness and creating homes.
We believe that a strong community
begins with a home for each of its members. A home is the foundation for
strong neighborhoods, economic opportunity, healthy people, and
educational success. To this end, the Partnership creates and promotes
proven solutions for homelessness, supportive and affordable housing,
and community development. We connect key state and federal
policymakers, local officials, corporate leaders and non-for-profit
organizations so that public and private resources can be wisely used to
affect positive changes in policies that make our communities better
places to live and work.
Since its founding in 1998, the
Partnership has successfully advocated for more than $400 million in
public funding in Connecticut which has helped build homes and created
programs to end chronic homelessness. We have engaged civic and elected
leaders to imagine, plan and execute effective change and to create a
new paradigm of thinking about housing.
The Partnership was founded with a
grant from The Melville Charitable Trust. We are based in Hartford,
Connecticut at the Lyceum,
a center dedicated to the promotion of innovative solutions to housing
officials look into more ways to serve homeless
November 30, 2010 3:07 PM EST
— Community organizers came together Monday to discuss strategies to
combat homelessness and marshal resources for those struggling with
issues such as poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse.
Representatives from several volunteer organizations, faith-based
groups, and town commissions gathered to discuss collaborative ways to
fight homelessness. And Vernon Community Network president Alan
Slobodien and fellow VCN forum organizer Bryan Flint said it’s time to
stop talking and get to work on the perennially thorny issue.
“I believe we need to make concrete steps and we need to take
action,” Slobodien said at the group’s first public forum, held at
the Church of the Nazarene in the Rockville section of town.
“Are we the community helping them in the right way? The shelters
can’t do it alone,” Flint said.
of the discussion centered around the town’s two homeless shelters,
Tri-Town Shelter Services at 93 East Main St., and Cornerstone
Foundations Inc., at 15 Prospect St., which are also the only two
homeless shelters in Tolland County.
Combined, the shelters provide a total of 30 beds. But Tri-Town
executive director Pieter Nijssen said there are between 180 and 367
people per month who are referred elsewhere because local services are
On a broader scale, Nijssen said that Connecticut’s 47 shelters only
serve about 7 percent of the state’s homeless population, and
community leaders need to decide whether to create more available beds,
or restructure local social services to try to reduce the number of
people who depend on shelters.
The problem has been compounded by the recent economy, which has dried
up funding for shelters and other services such as counseling, while
increasing the number of jobless and homeless people seeking help.
Despite intense scrutiny by groups such as the Connecticut Coalition to
End Homelessness, which publishes annual reports on shelter use and
other statistics, even basic facts about homelessness are still in
For example, it is widely acknowledged that many homeless people turned
away from shelters seek refuge in tent cities tucked into wooded areas.
But former Social Services director Paula Claydon disputed assertions
that numerous people, including families, were living outdoors in tents.
She said that while working with the federally funded “Projects for
Assistance in Transition from Homelessness” program, “we found one
homeless person living in the woods and that was by choice.”
Claydon also highlighted the need for more support services to help
those struggling with drug abuse, alcoholism, or mental illness, all of
which contribute to homelessness.
“We don’t need another shelter, we need to have services available
readily to these folks,” Claydon said, adding that Rockville General
Hospital, where inebriated homeless are often referred, does not have a
But Brian Hunter, a client of the Cornerstone shelter who credited it
with helping him in his recovery from alcoholism, said there’s good
reason that Claydon and other government officials don’t find more
homeless living outdoors.
After losing his home in a fire, “I did end up in the woods of
Rockville, living in a tent, like many people living out there,”
Hunter said. “We don’t want to be found by the Vernon police,
that’s why we hide so far out in the woods.”
Because both of the town’s shelters close during the day, Hunter said
he and others were extremely grateful to Bev’s Place, a daytime
drop-in center sponsored by Union Congregational Church.
Without Bev’s Place, “I surely would have froze to death,” Hunter
Fellow Cornerstone client Richard Robbins cited the economy as the
reason for his homelessness. After working for 25 years, Robbins lost
his job, and said age discrimination made it hard for him to find
“Once you reach a certain point, it’s nearly impossible to get a
job,” Robbins said.
For more information about VCN, including future forums and volunteer
opportunities, contact President Alan Slobodien at 860-870-3557, or
Bryan Flint at 860-875-1044.
For more information about Tri-Town Shelter Services, contact executive
director Pieter Nijssen at 860-875-9702, or email firstname.lastname@example.org