August 2010

Thank you to all who joined us for our August meeting.  As always, we enjoyed good food, a terrific presentation, and great company.  We were so pleased to welcome three speakers from the Fauquier Family Shelter: Executive Director Ed Childress, Board President Jim Mitchell, and the new program director for Domestic Violence Services, Lisa Lynn Chapman.

Extended Flash Report

We kicked off our evening with a campaign report from Jeff Barnett, candidate for congress in the 10th CD.  Jeff shared with us his reasons for running and the progress of his campaign and then kindly took time for questions. Jeff started by suggesting that if you ever really want to understand America, you should run for office.  He also commented that the campaign has been a wonderful but humbling experience and that he could not be doing this without the full support of his wife Katherine.

§        Jeff is not a career politician.  He served 26 years in the US Air Force before retiring in 1999 as a full colonel.  During his years of service he flew in many countries, during combat and peace time.  In 1996, Jeff transferred to Croatia and became Chief of Staff for a 6,000 person, UN peacekeeping force.  A study by the Rand Corporation called the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slovenia “the most successful peacekeeping mission in UN history.”  Jeff’s final military assignment was Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.
§        From 1999 to 2003 Jeff worked as a government consultant with Booz-Allen Hamilton in McLean.  In 2003, he joined the international executive advisory firm Toffler Associates and advised corporate and government leaders on how to “lead their organizations in the information age.”
§        Jeff’s primary campaign issues are the economy/jobs and the deficit.  He believes that there has always been a partnership between our government and the next generation of technology.  Government must help new industries and businesses (such as green jobs and the IT/intelligence community) get started; once they are established, private industry can take over.
§        He believes that his opponent, 30 yr. congressman Frank Wolf, has let us down.  For example, Wolf chaired the subcommittee that had oversight of the SEC.  Everyone knew the SEC wasn’t providing the proper oversight yet he did not exercise leadership in addressing this problem.  Additionally, Wolf voted against the Lily Ledbetter, Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, against credit card reform, and against health care reform.
§        Jeff is committed to improving public education and to ending our two wars.  In Jeff’s words, he has “skin in the game” as his older daughter is a doctor at Walter Reed and his younger daughter is a pilot about to deploy for the second time to Afghanistan.
§        Jeff currently has 3 district offices- his headquarters are in Herndon and he has satellites open in Leesburg and McLean.  Offices are set to open shortly in Winchester and hopefully Manassas.

Q&A
What is your approach to the budget deficit?
§        We have two kinds of deficits, stimulus deficit and structural deficit.  We need the stimulus deficit in order to get us out of this deep recession- without it, we risk a great depression.  The president and the Democratic Party are pulling back from a second round of stimulus at a time, I believe, we really need this.  Our structural deficit continues to grow because we are now taxing at 18% of our GDP and spending 22% (leaving a deficit of app. 500 billion).
§        I believe in a strong defense and I would never do anything to endanger my kids or yours, but we are spending too much on defense.
§        Our tax structure needs to be updated.  I am in favor of extending the tax cuts for those making up to $250,000 (which is actually more like $330,000 as tax is calculated on Adjusted Gross Income).  We must stop allowing corporations to park profits overseas.
§        We need to address concerns about social security solvency but we must also realize that as pension structures have changed, more pressure is now on social security.
§        The real key to solving our current jobs/deficit problem has to be the creation and growth of new industries.  “It wasn’t Ronald Reagan that got us out of our 70’s malaise, it was the internet revolution.”

Will there be debates between you and Frank Wolf?
§        I asked Congressman Wolf for a debate in every county but he has agreed to only one.  The debate will be held in late October, probably in the eastern part of the district.
§        I’ve scheduled a series of 10 town hall meetings all across the 10th district, the Fauquier County Town Hall will be held on Wed. Sept. 1st at the Warrenton Visitor’s Center.

To learn more about Jeff Barnett and his campaign please visit www.jeffbarnettforcongress.com

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- We received $68.00 in contributions at our last meeting which brings our bank balance to $749.  We’re not in desperate need of donations at this moment as our main expenses (rent and web hosting) are not due for a few months.  Lisa gave our monthly disclaimer that we are not a 501c3 and therefore, while all donations are greatly appreciated, they are not tax deductible.

Lost utensils- Linda Swanson commented that the SSC has acquired a collection of utensils over the last year.  If you are missing something, please check our “lost and found” shelf.  Also, we’ve had a number of people inquire as to what tasks are involved in orchestrating the SSC meetings.  We’ve decided that, beginning with our September meeting, we’ll have a list so that anyone who wishes to help can sign up to contribute a little time and energy (and perhaps their dishwasher or washing machine) to the SSC.

Community Announcements
PEC- Tim Dunn is now working with Piedmont Environmental Council and he wanted to let us know that they are a 501c3 and will gladly accept our donations.
The PEC Annual Meeting will be held at the MARE Center in Middleburg on Sat. Sept. 25th from 9:00am until 3:00pm.  This event is free and open to the public.
Visit pecva.org for more information or to make a donation.

CASA Fundraiser- Andrea Martens provided information on the 13th Annual “Evening Under the Stars” fundraiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program of Greater Prince William.  This worthwhile group works for the protection of abused and neglected children.  The event will be held at the Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas on Sat. Sept. 11th from 7:30 to 11:00 and will feature live bands playing music from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, cuisine from over 40 local restaurants, and live and silent auctions.  Tickets start at $70/sponsorship opportunities also available.
For more information visit the calendar section of our website at www.sundaysupperclub.org or contact CASA directly at (703) 330-8145 or email casaofgpw@earthlink.net.

SAFE Fundraiser- Donna Lipinski let us know about the “Words and Wine Fundraiser” to benefit Services to Abused Families.  SAFE provides services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock and Fauquier Counties.  The event will be held on Sat. September 25 at the Prince Michel Winery from 6:00-9:00pm and will feature good food and wine as well as book signings by Virginia authors and an auction. Tickets are $50.00 in advance and will not be sold at the door.
For more information visit the calendar section of our web site, www.sundaysupperclub.org or contact Kathryn Morris at 540-948-6174 or email morkat@nexet.net.

Vint Hill- Ike Broaddus let us know that, contrary to what you may have been reading in the Fauquier Times Democrat, Vint Hill is not financially struggling.  He welcomes the opportunity to talk with anyone about this.  Feel free to contact him at ike@gurunet.net

Guest Speakers

Ed Childress, executive director of Fauquier Family Shelter Services (FFSS), kicked off our evening’s presentation with a brief history of the services they offer.

The FFSS began in 1988 and has had only three executive directors during its 22 years in existence.

Emergency Shelter
§        Located at 95 Keith Street, the shelter has 52 beds and can house up to 11 families and 8 single adults at any one time.  Visitors are welcome.
§        Trained staff oversee operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
§        The shelter provides a 3 month residential program designed to develop self-sufficiency and long term housing.
§        Residents of the shelter are expected to obtain employment, remain free of drugs and alcohol, create and follow a budget, and participate in a mandatory savings program.
§        Prior to the recession, 50% of people in the shelter were able to move on to permanent housing- this figure is now in the 30’s.
§        If families are following the rules and keeping their jobs, they are allowed to stay past three months.
§        The shelter is funded 50% from state and local government- including Fauquier County and the Town of Warrenton- and 50% from private donations.  In the last 5 years, donations from private citizens have almost doubled.

Vint Hill Transitional Housing Program
§        This intensive 2 year program aims to help motivated families make the transition from homelessness to stability.
§        In order to qualify for this program you must be in the process of eviction, living in a shelter or “couch surfing.”
§        Additionally, the family must have children and a working vehicle and each adult must be employed.
§        This program assists families with credit repair, debt reduction, employment skills, and budgeting.
§        The majority of folks currently enrolled in the program lost their jobs and the new jobs they were able to find paid 10-20% less, thus throwing them into homelessness.
§        One of the goals of the transitional housing program is to help residents move into higher paying jobs- this is a difficult task in the current economy.

Jim Mitchell, board president of FFSS, began his segment of the presentation by thanking all who support the shelter.  As their net funding has declined due to funding cuts and lost grants, this private, community support is even more important.

He then went on to stress the importance of visibility and commented that many people in Fauquier are not even aware we have an emergency shelter.  The shelter not only provides housing and services for those who walk in the door, but also serves as a safety net for all in the county.  Even for those who don’t end up actually needing the shelter, it is reassuring to know of its existence.

Jim then spoke briefly about the need for a domestic violence shelter in Fauquier.
§        The current shelter is not equipped to handle homelessness resulting from cases of domestic violence.
§        Last year alone, 62 victims of domestic violence came to the shelter for help.
§        In Fauquier County, 2 new cases of domestic violence are reported daily.  No one organization is taking responsibility for providing services for domestic violence victims.
§        At present, the closest domestic violence shelter is in Culpeper.

In closing, Jim requested that each of us talk to at least two people about the services provided by FFSS.  Solving the problem of homelessness begins with recognition of the problem and awareness of possible solutions.

Jim’s remarks on domestic violence segued nicely into our final speaker of the evening, Lisa Lynn Chapman.  During her two month tenure as director for the newly formed Fauquier Domestic Violence Services Program, Lisa has been quite busy.

Mission statement:  To develop comprehensive intervention services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Fauquier County.

Lisa began by addressing the question: “Why expand into domestic violence services?”
§        700 cases of domestic violence and sexual assault were reported in Fauquier County in 2009; this does not include repeat calls from the same person.
§        Fauquier County is a unique blend of suburban, town, and rural living.  One solution won’t work for all people.
§        Leaving the county is a barrier for some victims due to schools, family, employment, animal/farm ownership.
§        The program will focus on Fauquier County but if someone from elsewhere calls, we will do what we can to help.

Current Services
§        Information and referrals
§        Crisis intervention
§        Safety planning
§        Individual support services
§        Coordinated community response (including all current service providers: public health, police department, Fauquier Faith Partners, SAFE)
§        Legal advocacy
§        Emergency transportation services
§        Domestic violence support group

Future Services
§        Crisis response team
§        Crisis housing- 1 to 7 days
§        Residential shelter and transitional housing
§        Children’s services including support groups for sexual assault, domestic violence and witnesses of domestic violence, and educational programming
§        Adult support groups for sexual assault victims and adult survivor’s of incest
§        Outreach to underserved populations including those with limited English proficiency, elderly, disabled, and LGBTQQ

A few facts on domestic violence:
§        1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence
§        1 in 8 women will be sexually assaulted
§        The majority of victims are women- 20% are men
§        Domestic violence includes emotional, verbal, and economic abuse as well as isolation, and destruction of pets or property.

Q&A

What keeps you going in this line of work?  I see people making a huge change in their lives, understanding the dynamics of abuse and coming to the realization that the situation is not their fault.  I see the community coming together to help and support people.  It’s hard work, but it is beautiful work.

Are there programs that work with young people on issues of domestic violence?  The “Red Flag Campaign” (http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/) works on college campuses to teach young men and women about sexual assault.

Do you have a location picked out for the DV shelter?  We’ve looked at a number of different properties.  It is exceedingly important to keep the location a secret.

What percentage of families are able to get back together and function in a healthy way?  My objective is to help the client achieve their goal.  Reunification can happen but it doesn’t happen often.  Each person must do their own work and it is very hard to make lasting changes.  “Violence is efficient.”

Will you be working with minor victims?  We can work with minors only with the permission of the parents.  There is a lot of liability associated with unaccompanied minors.  We do hope to provide educational programs in the schools.

Are you in need of volunteers for your program?  Absolutely!  I hope to have a volunteer program up and running by Sept. and plan to interview people to work in different areas.  We’d like volunteers to commit to at least 4 hours a month and while experience with victims/trauma is a plus, the main requirement is passion for the job.

Contact Lisa at 540-349-2719 or llc@fdvs.org for more information.

Random facts I couldn’t find a place for:
§        Although the emergency shelter is not set up specifically for veterans, we do try to help them get the services they need.
§        In all of 2009, 7 veterans came to the shelter seeking help; at this point in 2010, we’ve helped 8 veterans.
§        The McKinney-Vento Act states that homeless children have the right to continue their education in their home school.  Transportation is the responsibility of each school district, not that of the shelter.  Due to funding problems, some districts do not conform with this provision.  The majority of young children in the Fauquier shelter attend Brumfield Elementary School- Brumfield has been great to work with.

Scribe’s note- for more information on homelessness/children/education visit the web site of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth at http://www.naehcy.org/facts.html#rights

Thank you so much to Ed Childress, Jim Mitchell and Lisa Lynn Chapman for their terrific presentation on the many services provided by Fauquier Family Shelter Services!!  Now, all those in attendance (and those who have attended vicariously through reading my notes) please do your part to promote awareness in the community.

Visit the FFSS web site at www.fauquierfamilyshelter.org for more information or to make a donation to this worthy cause.

Save the Dates
You won’t want to miss the interesting meetings we have planned!

Sept. 12th- Brian Duncan, executive director of the Rappahannock Community Services Board

Oct. 10th- In progress

Nov. 14th- TBD

Dec. 12th- We’ve got an exciting speaker lined up but I’m keeping you in suspense J