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Conference News and Notes

for Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Sent to all Vincentians & Staff

Vincentian Reflection for the Epiphany of the Lord

Sunday, January 8, 2023


Gospel: (Matthew 2:1-12) When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. …Herod sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child…” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.


Reflection: The magi followed the light and found the Savior of the world. The magi searched, encountered, worshiped him and offered gifts. The magi demonstrated how Christianity must always show “faith in action.” Believing always plays itself out in living. The pattern of our lives is that of the magi: seek, encounter, homage, self-giving. An important lesson here for living is that authentic homage (worship) naturally leads to living in the Light. Worship, then, is more than what happens in church on Sunday. It is the light of our own selves that shines throughout our weekdays, witnessing to our own encounters with the Light. Our very lives must proclaim our faith. (Living Liturgy, p.36)


Vincentian Meditation: “This is my prayer to you, O Lord! Give to me your special favor. Pour out your truth and mercy on me in an abundance that will enable me to put your love into practice, filling me with true affection for you, for my neighbor, and also for myself.” St. Vincent de Paul (McKenna, Praying with Vincent, p.113)


2023 has arrived with an abundance of opportunities.

How will the “light of our own selves” shine throughout our days?

Your Formation and Training Opportunities & Tips


Formation Moment: Happy New Year! Embarking upon this year together we take a moment to reflect on who we are and how we are each called to grow as a person, especially as a Vincentian. This is a time of great possibility, a chance to reflect upon our personal call and how we can help fulfill it. The goal of “Formation”, whether we are attending events, workshops, or other opportunities, is to help us understand more of why we do something the way we do and to discover how that helps us more fully become the person the Lord calls us to be. In a practical sense, Formation helps us learn the tips, tricks, and tools to fulfill our roles more effectively – something we can appreciate when call numbers rise with our neighbors, or when we may need some inspiration to creatively respond to needs we may not even be aware of in our community. Formation helps us see our work differently, and in a deeper way, so this year let us rediscover our roots and ourselves anew.

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2023 Formation Schedule: The 2023 Formation Schedule has been completed and sent to all Conference Presidents and Spiritual Advisors prior to Christmas. If you are one and have not received it, please let Chris Kelley know. A postcard and Formation E-Newsletter will be going out by the end of this month, stay tuned for more updates!

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Chris Kelley, our Formation and Service Learning Director, can be reached at 513.345.1767 or ckelley@svdpcincinnati.org .

Sharing the Impact of Your/Our Good Works

 

Efforts are now underway on our District Council’s Annual Report for our 2022 fiscal year which concluded September 30, 2022. Each year, this report highlights our organization’s community contributions & accomplishments, thanks donors for their support, builds trust with our partners, and inspires readers through the mission of our Society...and the zeal with which our Vincentians & staff advance this mission.

Sharing personal stories is a crucial aspect of our annual report. We strive to do so in a spirit of love and in a manner that is respectful of the dignity we all share as children of God. Your help in this effort is deeply appreciated.

We’d like to hear from you - our Vincentians and staff - in one of the following ways: 

  1. “No work of charity is foreign to the Society.” We know there are many forms of support offered to our neighbors that can’t necessarily be captured in a number, chart or graph. Additionally, we know our Vincentians are infinitely inventive in the ways they find to help. We ask you to consider this – “In the past year, how did I find myself providing support in an unexpected way? In what way(s) was I inventive?”
  2. Rising to the challenge. What unexpected challenge did you face last year, and how did you overcome that challenge? This does not necessarily need to be in relation to providing service to a neighbor. In what ways did your Conference grow?

For those who are interested in providing this vital feedback, please reach out to Kristen Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Manager, by email at kgallagher@SVDPcincinnati.org , or through a phone call at 513.562.8853. Kristen is eager to connect with you. Thanks in advance for helping make this Annual Report a more engaging testimonial to our impact and a more compelling call to action for all who value our Vincentian way.

Sharing Our Final Report on Conferences' Days to Shop Angel Toys 

 

Our Council's 3 formal Angel Toy events concluded Monday evening, 12/12/2022. As is our traditional arrangement, we extended a hearty invitation to our Conferences to shop the remaining toys & gifts for their neighbors who had not yet received SVDP Christmas gifts assistance this year. Our 20 Conferences who chose to partake shopped by appointment (and in same cases shopped more than once as their neighbors reached out in need as Christmas approached) for 100 families/households, including 279 children. Thanks to all who donated gifts, presence, and prayer...and all who provided loving interaction for those desperately searching for Christmas hope.

Winter Coat Vouchers


Any Hamilton County resident who has not yet received a coat from St. Vincent de Paul is welcome to come to our Neyer Outreach Center (NOC, 1146 Bank St) to request a coat voucher. These vouchers can be redeemed at our Clothing and Home Resource Center (in our Liz Carter Center, across the street, 1125 Bank St) or any of our 7 SVDP-Cincinnati thrift stores (our Outlet Store on Chickering Avenue excluded). Neighbors must have a photo ID for themselves and any other member of their household for whom they request a coat. Vouchers are good for thirty days after the day they’re written. The decision of when to end this winter coat voucher program will be based on the supply of coats at our Stores and the weather.

Vincentians may request a coat on behalf of their neighbor using the following process:

  • Check for eligibility in CMS. Neighbors are eligible to receive one coat per household member per winter (from either a voucher or a distribution event). Previous coat assistance is listed in CMS under Programs – Coats through Liz Carter.
  • Email Erin at enowak@svdpcincinnati.org to request a voucher. Please include:
  • The name and date of birth of each household member who will be receiving a coat (including the head of household)
  • Where the voucher should be sent (the address of either the neighbor or the Conference member who will be delivering the voucher)
  • Please ensure that the neighbor is aware they will need some form of ID for each person listed on their voucher. Acceptable forms of ID are listed below, as well as on the voucher itself:
  • Driver’s license or other photo ID (including VESTA card, MARC ID, or work photo ID)
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical/Insurance card
  • Lease agreement with household members listed
  • Our Outreach Center Programs team at the NOC will take care of writing and mailing out the voucher, as well as entering the assistance in CMS.

We are still eagerly and thankfully accepting donations of winter coats which will supply these voucher redemptions and provide a start for our winter coats assistance next fall. Huge thanks to all who have donated, have hosted drives, and continue to attract coats.

CMS Tips, Tricks, & Transformations

 

CMS Release 4.1 is scheduled to implement today - Wednesday, 1/4/2023.

CMS 4.1 Training videos are now available on the CMS Support page. They should be viewed by all.

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Our 1st quarter of our 2023 fiscal year concluded on December 31, 2022. Please be sure you have completed your CMS entries for all your good works - including the time & mileage you invested in your Vincentian vocation - so your Conference Treasurer can generate quarter-end reports. Treasurers: Please see the CMS training videos (Treasurer section) if you want a refresher on how to close out your check register and generate your quarterly reports. CMS makes these month- & quarterly-end closes so much easier.

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Want to refine your CMS skills & learn tips to utilize CMS more efficiently and effectively?

Ready to embrace & implement CMS if you are a member of the final 6 of our Conferences who are yet to deploy this powerful tool?

Please contact John at jwessel@SVDPcincinnati.org , or by phone at 513.562.1823, to schedule a CMS group or individual session.

More Resources for our Conferences and Neighbors

 

Conference Assistance Fund (CAF)  

Our December activity:

  • You submitted 175 fresh applications
  • We approved 167 applications; 3 were declined and 2 withdrawn
  • These approvals represent approx $73,000 in assistance extended to these 167 neighbor families/households

Our start to January activity (1 workday in):

  • You've submitted 8 fresh applications
  • We've approved 5 applications; 2 have been declined and 2 withdrawn
  • We have 20 applications currently in process

You can check on the status of CAF applications you have submitted by going to the Member Support and Forms page of our SVDP-Cincinnati website and clicking on CAF Application Status, or use this link:

https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiNjQyZDg5NmMtNWQ1ZC00OTAyLWIwYmUtZTA2NGMwZmZmNmZiIiwidCI6ImY2NWUwODUxLTYxM2QtNDEzNS05ZTE2LTUwOWFkYThjMDY2YiJ9 .

This resource is reserved for Vincentian members only; access to this resource can not be shared with neighbors, landlords, etc, under any circumstances.

In mid-October, our Council temporarily augmented our original FY2023 CAF budget provision of $60,000 per month. Our Council subsidized $80,000 per month for October, November, & December, 2022. Our Council has also augmented our January budget provision to $80,000. And we carried over under-extended December provisions. All this should prove handy as we anticipate a surge in requests in January as the winter reality takes hold. Please note:

We can extend this Council subsidy plus any (welcomed and encouraged) twinning to CAF from fellow Conferences. If your Conference is currently blessed with funds exceeding 2-3 months of your normal operating outflow, please know that we have fellow Conferences in search of funds to invest in lifting neighbors right now. Please contact Tom Roberts, 513.345.4910 or troberts@svdpcincinnati.org for more info or to twin.

We continue to encourage you to guide our neighbors to other publicly- & privately-funded resources available within our community...and to nurture relationships that extend well beyond immediate basic needs (material) assistance to provide lasting impact.

 

Publicly-Funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA 2)

ERA 2, funded through the City of Cincinnati, was available for qualified/eligible tenant neighbors who reside within the City of Cincinnati. The City's funding was committed to us only through December, 2022. We (Conferences) processed and approved 131 ERA 2 applications which resulted in $396,482 in assistance to our neighbors. Huge thanks to those Conferences and Vincentians who submitted ERA 2 applications...and to Olivia, Alec, Mary Reid, and our Finance team for turning these applications into assistance extended to our neighbors.

We will share any new developments as they present themselves.


Rahe Beds Fund & Program

Your January bed requests should be submitted using our online request form by this Friday, 1/6. We will advise on the status of these requests and whether we have further beds available this month.

Progress report on our Rahe conversion to the more easily transported beds sourced through Malouf: We are eagerly anticipating the first delivery of beds from Malouf...as we continue to distribute our remaining "old model" twin & full beds. Stay tuned!

If your Conference is considering purchasing beds to extend as assistance, you can get info, including current pricing, or purchase by contacting Dave Chidlow, Stores Retail Resource Manager, at dchidlow@svdpcincinnati.org or 513.853.1002. Your purchased beds will be picked up at our CHRC within our Liz Carter Center. Please be aware that the bed pricing will change slightly with our new bed vendor.

A limited number of pack ‘n’ plays are available for neighbors with children younger than two. We do not currently have any available cribs. Pack ‘n’ plays can be requested by emailing rahebedfund@svdpcincinnati.org with the neighbor’s name, date of birth, and address.

Do you have questions about our Rahe Beds Fund & Program?

You can find the most updated Bed Fund Conference Guide in the Members section of the SVDP website. Our online request form can be found here .


Metro Bus Passes (Everybody Rides Metro)

Your Conference has access to Metro single-day bus passes to be extended to neighbors for use for any of 3 defined purposes:

1. Commute to/from new employment

2. Commute to/from our Bank St services hub or other community social services

3. Commute to/from medical appointments

Please understand that these passes are sourced through the Everybody Rides Metro program and our Council is required to comply with the above-referenced usages and submit reports of passes distributed. Please also understand that your Conference will need to record bus passes extended in CMS for the neighbors receiving this assistance. Our Bus Pass Guidelines sheet for Conferences is available to you on the Members Support page of our website https://www.svdpcincinnati.org/conferences-members/member-support/

or use this link to go directly to this document:

https://www.svdpcincinnati.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Bus-Tickets-Policy.pdf

If your Conference wants to learn more about this program or request passes, please contact Alec Jewell, Conferences Manager, at ajewell@svdpcincinnati.org or 513.345.4983.

 

Our Re-Entry Program

Our Re-Entry Program Manager, Dion Crockett, is eager to work with you to assist neighbors you are serving who have been affected by the criminal justice system. If you would like to host Dion at a Conference meeting, get together with him in another way, or discuss a particular situation, Dion can be reached at 513.562.8851 or dcrockett@svdpcincinnati.org

 

Cooking Improv with La Soupe

Our partner La Soupe teams with our Catino Choice Pantry to present monthly Cooking Improv demonstrations in the Teaching Kitchen at our NOC. Instructors from La Soupe and volunteers engage participants on basic cooking principles and how to use what you have to create delicious, nutritious meals. All recipes are based off ingredients found daily in our Catino Choice Pantry. Neighbors are encouraged to sample the delicious dishes and discuss preparation and ingredients with our staff, volunteers, and resident La Soupe instructor, Chef Mona! 

These sessions are held on the first Wednesday of each month - which means our next event is today (Wednesday, 1/4), 11am-1pm. No pre-registration is required.

Feel free to share this information with your neighbors, or if you’re interested in getting involved in our Teaching Kitchen programming, please reach out to Demi Schoenherr at dschoenherr@svdpcincinnati.org for more information. ​


Haircuts from the Heart in our NOC

This is a free haircut program, courtesy of our partner Franciscan Ministries. Stylist Margarita will be in our NOC on the first and second Monday of each month, 9am-noon, cutting hair in a room on the 2nd floor. Our next haircut date is this coming Monday, 1/9. Neighbors are accepted on a walk-in basis, and should sign in at our NOC reception desk upon arrival.

 

Education Center Within Our Neyer Outreach Center

Our NOC Education Center is available for our neighbors and Vincentians to use during our operating hours: Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm, and Saturday, 8am - noon.

 

Language Service Available to our Conferences

A growing number of our Conferences are experiencing increased interactions with Latino members of our community…and are struggling to effectively communicate with neighbors who are most fluent or exclusively fluent in Spanish. We have contracted a dedicated language service to help you engage these neighbors in a welcoming, affirming manner. Any Conference member can download the “LanguageLine InSight” app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer at https://insight.languageline.com/ . You simply need to use the Authentication Code 6NN692GLS2 the first time you login. Through this app you will have access to over 40 different languages, including Spanish, via an interpreter. You will have the option of either audio or visual (for those needing sign language); we strongly encourage using visual only when you must. Please be efficient in your utilization as our Council pays by the minute for this service; visual is nearly twice as expensive as audio. When you access the service, you will be asked for your name and department, you simply need to state your name, then “St Vincent de Paul Cincinnati Conferences”, then your Conference name. Be sure to only call through the app; you cannot use this service through a regular phone call.

A testimonial from within our Council, "We actually just gave the line a call, figured trying it out would be the best way to know. It was very easy. You login and just select the language, then immediately it connects you with an interpreter who can add the other person to the call. It’s all through the app, very quick, very easy."

Our Charitable Pharmacy and Social Services are already using this tool to engage our Latino neighbors.

If you have any questions or are having trouble accessing the service, please reach out to Alec or Olivia of your Conferences Support Team.

A final seed to plant: If your Conference is among those engaging more neighbors preferring or needing to communicate in Spanish, please consider this an opportunity to seek the addition of Spanish-speaking members. This could enhance your responsive communication and expand your Conference’s perspective.

 

Christ Church Plumb Line

Christ Church Cathedral is once again accepting our referrals after their holidays break.

Olivia Scheper, Conferences Support Coordinator, is our central contact point-person. Plumb Line only accepts assistance referrals from this single SVDP point-person.

As a reminder, Plumb Line can assist with $400 of past due rent for neighbors who are currently working.

Please note: Your Conference does not need to enter your request for Plumb Line assistance into CMS when you submit it to Olivia. Olivia will add the referral into CMS once she submits it to Christ Church.  

All referrals to Plumb Line should be sent to:

Olivia Scheper

oscheper@svdpcincinnati.org

Phone: 513.345.4986, ext 239

Please understand and have faith: Plumb Line only communicates with the landlord and the neighbor after our referral is made. Therefore, once we have submitted your neighbor referral to Plumb Line, no news is good news. Christ Church will only communicate with us when they are unable to assist a neighbor or there are difficulties with a case. We should not contact Christ Church for status reports on a referral.

 

Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW)

GCWW's Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program provides funds for assistance for eligible tenants residing in the City of Cincinnati. There are eligibility stipulations. Tenants must qualify by completing an online application at assistance.mygcww.org .

Renters can also call 513.591.7700 to receive assistance from the call center to complete an application. There is also a flexible payment plan through the PromisePay Portal. GCWW customers can visit GCWW.promise-pay.com for details about the program and how to enroll. Renters not residing in Cincinnati city limits but living in Hamilton County can visit https://erap.hcjfs.org/ for utility assistance. If you need additional materials or information, please contact GCWW at GCWWCares@gcww.cincinnati-oh.gov .

 

Duke Energy

Duke Energy has released an updated summary of Financial Assistance Available for Ohio & Kentucky Natural Gas and Electric Customers. To learn more, go to the Duke Energy website, click on the Financial Help tab, and then click on Ohio.

Duke encourages us to follow our standard steps for processing pledges on customer accounts. For questions on accounts or pledges for neighbors requesting utility assistance, please contact Duke Energy's Centralized Agency Team at 800.241.3194. Advocates are available Monday through Friday, 7:30am - 5:30pm.

Should our neighbor / their customer not meet Duke's qualifications for assistance, please refer them to Duke's customer care organization at 800.544.6900 where they may find assistance through a flexible installment plan.

 

State of Ohio Program for Struggling Homeowners

Save the Dream Ohio helps eligible Ohio homeowners facing foreclosure and/or who cannot afford to pay their mortgage payments, utility payments or other related housing costs as a result of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of Ohio was awarded $280 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for the program. Click here for more information:

Save the Dream Ohio - Managed by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (ohiohome.org)

 

Hamilton County COVID Assistance

Our neighbors & you can still find info and resources at https://513relief.org . Hamilton County has recently refreshed funding at Hamilton County Job & Family Services (JFS). Neighbors can apply at 513Relief.org on their mobile device or desktop. The Hamilton County Rent and Utility Program’s application can be submitted on a smart phone. Please note: this funding comes from the same federal pool as ERA and other COVID relief programs, so a neighbor who has previously exhausted their access to this pool will be ineligible. Community Action Agency (CAA) also has COVID relief funding through the City of Cincinnati. Please refer eligible neighbors to either or both of these service organizations.  

 

Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation (CEIF) Vision Clinic in our Neyer Outreach Center

The Vision Clinic operates by appointment on certain Monday mornings & Thursdays as designated by CEIF. This Vision Clinic will be open on Thursdays only this month: the mornings of 1/5 (tomorrow) & 1/19; all day on 1/12 & 1/26. A limited number of walk-in exams can also be accommodated. To schedule an appointment, or to inquire for additional info, please call 513.207.6140.

Our Mission


A network of neighbors, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.

Our Call to Prayer

                  

O God, as you guided the Magi by the light of a star,

may Jesus be our light.

O God, you have created a marvelous variety of peoples,

may we be open to all cultures, races, and nations.

O God, your love surrounds us,

may we faithfully offer Christ the gold of living faith, the incense of our worship, and the myrrh of compassion.

Amen.

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