For a quarter century, a small building on East 18th St. in New York City has been a refuge for homeless seniors in transition. The work of that facility — Moravian Open Door — was highlighted at a special celebration on Sept 30.
The 25th anniversary event, led by MOD Board President Doris Schattschneider, began with a special service at First Moravian Church in New York. MOD traces its origins back to First Moravian’s urban ministry work in the late 1960s.
(see more in the History of MOD).
During the Sunday afternoon service, past and present board members, church leaders, friends and guests celebrated the work of MOD through prayer and song. Led by First Moravian’s pastor Charles Harewood and the Rev. Norman Prochnau, the service included prayers and comments from the Rev. David Wickmann, the Rev. David Bennett, the Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon, the Rev. Nigel Powell and Darryl Williams, director of MOD.
“For a quarter century, the Moravian Church has cradled and nourished MOD,” said Darryl. “It has not been easy to keep the doors of MOD open. Every year seems to be a new challenge. Despite the challenges, past and present residents of MOD have been blessed with holiday meals, food donations, home improvements, technology assistance, and the opportunity to fellowship and celebrate with members of the Moravian Church—as we fellowship and celebrate today.”
Following the service, guests celebrated at a reception at The Atrium, an open space in the Citicorp building on Lexington Ave. The space was arranged in conjunction with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, which has sanctuary within the building.
During the reception hosted by First Moravian Church members, MOD was congratulated by U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents the East Side of Manhattan and Queens in the House of Representatives. The President of the Borough of Manhattan Scott Springer offered a proclamation making Sept. 30, 2012 “Moravian Open Door Appreciation Day” in the city.
As with many Moravian celebrations in New York, guests were treated to the music of the Steel Ensemble from Grace Moravian Church in Queens. A moving video prepared by MOD volunteer Noreen Hussain shared the stories of a number of MOD clients, each discussing how the shelter helped them regain dignity and self-worth (the video will soon be available online on Moravian.org and moravianhouse.org websites). Doris thanked the many volunteers, board members and supporters and staff who helped make the ongoing work of MOD possible.
The 25th anniversary celebration concluded with a tour of Moravian House at 347 E. 18th St. MOD staff and board members highlighted recent renovations and facilities, including the new kitchen and enhanced learning center.
Moravian Open Door is a not-for-profit (501c-3) organization committed to providing transitional housing and supportive services to the homeless, distressed and underserved population of New York City. Its ministry serves those individuals who are fifty and older with the goal of helping them regain their independence and security, and assisting them in moving to appropriate, permanent facilities. Clients are required to agree to work under a Service Plan and not require on-premises clinical care.
MOD’s transitional housing program guides clients through three stages. Because each client may progress through the stages at different speeds, MOD is patient, caring and supportive.
Stage 1: Restoring Dignity. Upon admittance, clients are offered stability and a fresh start. A bed, bedding, clean towel, soap, razor and cosmetics are issued. A personal service plan is developed as a guide towards achieving independence and appropriate permanent housing. Each client receives keys to a room, a bathroom, and personal mailbox.
Stage 2: Rebuilding Lives and Independence. Clients work one-on-one with a case worker to fulfill the service plan. Appropriate medical and mental health services are assigned and facilitated. Life-skills training is provided. When appropriate, job training, resume development, and job search are begun.
Stage 3: Graduation. Through the client’s effort and case worker guidance, a client will reach stability, confidence and the ability to take a decisive step towards appropriate permanent housing. After a final one-on-one meeting with counselors to discuss on-going support, the client is pronounced a graduate. A community dinner is held to commemorate the occasion.
MOD is funded solely by church and private donations and a nominal monthly program fee. It does not receive any city or federal funding.
For more information on MOD, visit www.moravianhouse.org.
Moravian Open Door: Helping Homeless Help Themselves
From the November 2012 Moravian Magazine