By BRETT R. WHITLING
Clarion News writer
The Clarion Shelter Task Force management team was surprised when it received a $15,000 donation to help efforts aiding those in need in the Clarion County region.
The donation came from Brookfield renewable and the Bridge Builders Community Foundation to help the Clarion Shelter Task Force.
After reading an article on the issue of homelessness in Clarion, employees from Brookfield Renewable were inspired to help the issue.
Jennifer Krouse from the Clarion Shelter Task Force expressed her surprise with the donation as typical donations range from $10 to $100.
John McVaigh, Director of Operations for Brookfield Renewable said, “In order for us to operate long term, we have to be an active part of the communities were in. We support our employees and the charitable giving they do and as a company, we look for opportunities to make a difference, like what we’re doing here, so we can build those relationships.”
McVeigh said Brookfield Renewable actively looks for opportunities to help organizations and build relationships with the community.
A press release from Brookfield Renewable said the donation will specifically be used by the Clarion Shelter Task Force to provide assistance for items that are necessary but aren’t typically covered by other programs.
These items include needs such as work clothes, Social Security cards, birth certificates and driver’s licenses that are required to apply for public housing assistance and other expenses needed to help with obtaining housing and employment.
Bridge Builders Community Foundation Executive Director Trenton Moulin said, “It is exciting to see a company engaged and committed to the community where they reside. Corporate giving is an integral part of any thriving area and this is a great example.”
Krouse said, “Many people in our area do not realize homelessness is an issue in Clarion County.”
Krouse said there are numerous other agencies in the county which offer similar services to those provided by the Housing Assistance Program.
“So many people are living paycheck to paycheck and one little setback can cause a plethora of problems,” Krouse added.
As part of the HAP, Krouse noted individuals who meet the initial criteria for assistance such income, expense ratio and previous help history are required to participate in budgeting classes in order to learn skills to better manage their money and improve their situation.
Erin Wallace, Housing Coordinator at Center for Community Resrouces said the Clarion Shelter Task Force typically works on very limited funds and the donation will be a huge help for assisting those in need.
Wallace talked about providing the “working poor” with opportunities to help pay for security deposits so people have a permanent housing.
Krouse said, “We also provide case management which assists with referrals to other agencies, job search, education, etc.”
Wallace said the Clarion Shelter Task Force does its best to be good stewards on however the funding is used.
The task force also assists to help raise awareness of the widespread homeless problem; each county is required to have its own version of Clarion County’s Local Housing Options Team (L-HOT), also known as the Clarion Shelter Task Force.
The team, which is mostly made up of individuals in the housing field along with some community members, meets once a month to discuss funding, updates and projects.
McVaigh said, “Brookfield Renewable is proud to support the efforts of the Clarion Task Force and the Bridge Builders Community Foundation as they continue to offer very valuable assistance to those in need in the community.”
Bridge Builders Community Foundation and its affiliate the Clarion County Community Foundation is committed to contribute to the quality of life in Clarion County and surrounding areas.
“We will accomplish this by focusing on critical needs and facilitating the community’s response; facilitating the creation of charitable funds and permanent community endowments that make giving effective and personally satisfying for contributors,” Moulin said.
For more information on the Bridge Builders Community Foundation, visit bbcf.org
Brookfield Renewable owns and operates Piney hydropower on the Clarion River as well as three other facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Combined, these four facilities generate over 700 Megawatts of clean, reliable energy, which is roughly enough to provide power for 70,000 homes.