The New York Nonprofit Press April 2014 edition featured Project Renewal as the Agency of the Month!
DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor commented: “Throughout its rich and venerable history, Project Renewal has demonstrated great innovation and ingenuity in the field of homeless services, and employs programs that enable more clients to transition back to self-sufficiency."
Project Renewal Blog
The New York Nonprofit Press April 2014 edition featured Project Renewal as the Agency of the Month!
Hey baseball fans. Now there’s a perfect alternative to the rubber chicken charity dinner. It’s happening on Friday, May 9th, at 7:10pm, as the Mets once again go up against their longtime nemesis, the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s simple. May 9th is Project Renewal Night at Citi Field. Buy a ticket to this game (or, better still, buy a block of them, invite your friends and make it a party) and be part of helping thousands of New Yorkers renew their lives at the same time.
It’s all part of the New York Mets' “Fill the Park for Charity” nights initiative, launched last year, in which certain games will have a designated charity associated with them as a way to enable nonprofits to raise money through the sale of discounted tickets for that specific game, and to make their cause visible at Citi Field for a night.
Why not jump-start your summer fun at Citi Field for this game? Order your tickets using the link below and help us help the New Yorkers we serve hit singles, doubles, triples, home runs, and even grand slams in turning their lives around.
The human services non-profit sector is in the midst of a management revolution, a revolution built on measurement.
Words like evaluation, performance management, outcomes measurement, and performance based contracts are now joining the ranks of quality assurance, compliance reviews, and performance audits in the minds of nonprofit leaders. With all of these concepts flying around, many non-profit leaders don’t know the difference between them; they just want to be running effective programs! So let’s say you want to get in on all of this ‘outcomes’ stuff – where do you begin? What does this all even mean?
This post is my attempt to cut through the confusion, and define some of the main differences among the different ways of measuring nonprofits.
Compliance vs. Excellence
One the most important distinctions to make is between measurement for compliance and measurement for excellence. My work at Project Renewal has four main components, which I will use as examples to differentiate those two approaches. Those components are (1) regulatory compliance, (2) quality assurance, (3) performance measurement, and (4) evaluation.
The first two items are about making sure that we are doing the minimum necessary for our nonprofit to be considered doing ‘good’ work. These are more traditional models of measuring the work of a nonprofit, and ones that most leaders should be familiar with.
- Regulatory compliance is about following the rules – if we didn’t meet these criteria, we could be facing some serious penalties. We measure this through activities like doing compliance audits, monitoring activities, and investigating issues as they arise.
- Quality Assurance, in the human services world at least, means making sure that the services that we are providing meet certain quality standards. We measure this through activities like reviewing service documentation and getting feedback from clients and staff.
The last two items on my list aren’t about doing the least that we can do, but about being as excellent as we can be. Instead of just trying to clear the low bar, we strive for the gold metal and setting new world records for how amazing programs can be.
- Performance Measurement and Management is perhaps the most useful measurement solution to nonprofit leaders, and if your organization is not currently doing this, it’s time to fix that. Performance Measurement work involves identifying important performance measures, regular data collection, and using tools like reports and dashboards to monitor performance. Performance Management is then using that data to manage your staff and programs.
- Evaluation is a much more rigorous and well defined set of activities – in fact, there is even a professional association dedicated to this field. Evaluations are generally conducted by professional evaluators to answer specific questions about the effectiveness of various programs, although there are lots of types of evaluations done in lots of different ways. Generally, nonprofit capacity to conduct evaluations comes after capacity to do performance measurement.
The difference between performance measurement, evaluation, and research is often hard to understand, but hopefully the chart below outlines it a little clearer.
Your priorities and resources are will determine which way you want to approach measurement, as will the type of program that you run. You may use one or more of the above types of measurement in your organization, and you might be doing things that I don’t talk about here. There are lots of other ways to think about measurement in nonprofit organizations, but I hope this provided a framework for you to think about measurement in your nonprofit workplace.
As Director of Strategy and Evaluation at Project Renewal, Patrick lGermain leads a team of internal evaluators, conducts a wide range of evaluative activities, and manages any external evaluator relationships. Patrick also runs a professional networking group on issues of performance measurement and management in the non-profit and public sectors which currently has over 120 members and has had ongoing bimonthly events since its inception. Patrick has an MA in Public Administration from NYU Wagner.
- Among industrial nations, the US has the largest number of homeless women and the highest number on record since the Great Depression. 1
- An estimated 50% of all homeless people are women. 2
- Up to 92% of homeless women have experienced severe sexual or physical assault at some point in their lives. 3
- 57% of homeless women cite sexual or domestic violence as the direct cause of their homelessness. 1
- 63% have been victims of violence from an intimate partner. 3
32% have been assaulted by their current or most recent partner. 3
- 50% of homeless women experience a major depressive episode after becoming homeless. 1
- Homeless women have three times the normal rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 1
- Homeless women are twice as likely to have drug and alcohol dependencies. 1
- Homeless women between 18 to 44 years old are 5 to 31 times more likely to die than women in the general population. 4
- Homeless women in their mid-fifties are as physiologically aged as housed women in their seventies. 1
- Victims of domestic violence experience major barriers in obtaining and maintaining housing and often return to their abusers because they cannot find long-term housing. 5
1. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless: http://www.coloradocoalition.org/!userfiles/TheCharacteristicsofHomelessWomen_lores3.pdf
2. Homeless Women & Children: The Problem and the Solution http://voices.yahoo.com/homeless-women-children-problem-solution-368646.html
3. National Alliance to end Homelessness http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/domestic_violence
4. Homelessness in the United States: History, Epidemiology, Health Issues, Women, and Public Policy Med Scape http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/481800
5. A. Correia, Housing and Battered Women: A Case Study of Domestic Violence Programs in Iowa (Harrisburg: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 1999) accessed via "The Dangerous Shortage of Domestic Violence Services"
At Project Renewal, honoring Black History Month Takes on Many Forms.
Most of the people that Project Renewal serves are engaged in putting the pieces back together and moving on to renewed lives. It can entail daily--sometimes even hour by hour-- focus and struggle. Yet even so, staff and residents alike throughout our 16 sites and numerous programs are finding time and ways, this month, to honor, recognize, observe and celebrate black history.
In some cases, like at Renewal House, our transitional housing program for men recovering from substance abuse, observance is a grassroots thing, initiated by the residents themselves. “We noticed that a lot of our people were very interested in it this year,” reports Renewal House Assistant Director Monica Diaz. In response, she hung posters and biographies of notable African Americans from Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X on the walls, and added black history as a running theme in the four group discussions staff and residents engage in each month.
Residents at our Third Street Men’s Shelter enjoyed the holiday celebrations so much that Assistant Shelter Director Aluta Khanyile’s continued a seasonal theme by highlighting Black History Month. “The response to all the activities and events we had over the holidays was so positive,” he explains, “that we thought, why not have another celebration, centered on Black History Month, this time?” Posting them in the common areas of the 200-bed facility, Aluta intends that even in passing the images of--and quotations from--notable Black Americans will raise staff and residents’ awareness, as well as open the door to further cultural exchange. “Next,” he declares, “we need to recognize and celebrate the Hispanic people’s heritage.”
The most elaborate observance of Black History at Project Renewal this year has is in our 200-bed Fort Washington Men’s Shelter for men diagnosed with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues. Here, Recreation Therapist Joseph White has cooked up a month-long string of related activities and events, including special crossword puzzles, trivia matches, field trips and guest speakers, all centered on Black History Month and culminating in a grand, evening-long talent show featuring staff and resident actors, singers, and musicians, in performance. It is a tradition White has cultivated over the years.
Likewise, when the Geffner House Recreation Director Ellis Eisner was first hired eight years ago, she decided to invite a guest speaker to the 20-story, 307-unit building for formerly homeless men and women. “I grew up during the movement,” confides Ellis who upholds this tradition February. “I was eight years old when they assassinated Martin Luther King. So this is an important holiday to me.” This month’s activities include a group day trip to Harlem’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, a visit from poetess/therapist Barbara Bethea, better known to her fans as the “Afrikana Madonna,” and, new this year, construction of a black-themed Papier-mâché community “quilt” assembled from individual panels created by staff and residents.
Tania Santiago wasn’t focused on getting something this Valentine’s Day. What she wanted was for this February 14th to be about giving. Tania called up Project Renewal and asked what she could do. She was put in touch with our Medical Van Outreach Coordinator, Jennie Mejia, who made a few suggestions as to how she could help. Thanks to Tania’s initiative there were plenty of warm winter coats to go around, Renewal Kits with essential toiletries for patients on our medical vans, cookies, as well as a generous $200 donation—all collected from friends and family Tania had recruited to the cause!
Our hats are off to Emily Brown, Elizabeth Fasanya, Shanira Griffith, Aluta Khanyile, Jackie Moore, Jana Pohorelsky, Mizraim Reyes, Rosalind Williams, and Brittany Zenner. These nine Project Renewal staffers volunteered to be DHS HOPE surveyors. So, on Monday, January 27th, they were out in the frigid night, traveling some of this city’s meaner avenues, looking for anyone living on the streets.
As Emily Brown, who recruited our volunteers explains, DHS (NYC Department of Homeless Services) purposely chooses January to do the annual HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) count, so that they can identify chronically homeless individuals, who tend to tough it out during the colder nights rather than use the shelter system.
HOPE count data factors into how the city allocates resources. An undercount could result in an shortfall of services and/or facilities and supplies on hand. So we are proud of our PRI staffers who braved the chill themselves so that when vulnerable New Yorkers seek help in the future, they will not get left out in the cold.
One of them, Mizraim Reyes, of our Medical Department, went a step further when she encountered a man who hadn’t eaten in a while. “I offered to call the DHS Van for him,” she recalls, “but he didn’t want to go to a shelter and leave behind his two shopping carts full of his possessions, which the shelter can’t accommodate. So I asked him, ‘Well what do you want us to do for you?’ and he said ‘I’m hungry,’ so we went to a deli and got him something to eat.”
A huge thanks to you all, our Project Renewal Champions of HOPE!
We met with Ethan Balgley, an intern for the past year with our mobile medical vans. this is part one of a two part series from that interview.
How did you come to Project Renewal?
As an AmeriCorps volunteer through the Avodah (the Jewish Service Corps) I wanted to get hands on front line work with clients and to be in a medical setting close to clinical work before going to medical school next year. Project Renewal was perfect for that.
The point of the AmeriCorps program is to develop leaders in urban poverty programs in the United States. I had focused on health disparities in urban poverty situations abroad so now I got to look at it in this country.
What is one thing you have learned this year?
Lack of housing and not actually a health problem at all because the lack of housing contributes to a host of problems. There is an idea in healthcare for the homeless of "housing as healthcare." This links urban policy at a more macro scale to micro level health problems that we see.
If you were telling a friend about what you do, how would you explain it?
I do outreach with homeless people at a non-profit called Project Renewal in their medical department where I work on mobile medical vans.
This is unique and exciting because it is an incredibly low barrier way to access care and the kind of care a lot of homeless people aren't going to get. Many people are familiar with the fact that they can walk into an emergency room and get care of a certain kind. Even though there is no barrier there in terms of insurance, often times people have to wait for hours and hours unless they are in danger of death.
At Project Renewal we go to the places where homeless people are--clinics in shelters (both our own shelters and others) as well as a mobile medical program that brings vans to where homeless people congregate such as soup kitchens and shelters without clinics inside. We don't require people to have health insurance, and we help them get signed up for Medicaid if they qualify.
We give them kind of medical care that they can't find anywhere else. There are a very limited number of places where homeless people can get primary care at all, there are community health centers, New York City hospitals, and private doctors. Many private doctors will not accept Medicaid, and they certainly won't accept uninsured patients. City hospitals and community health centers by and large have incredibly long wait times to get an appointment with a primary care doctor. To have a service where patients can walk up to the medical van the day of and come in and see a primary care doctor is amazing.
There are a few other organizations where a homeless person can do that but you can count them on one hand in a city the size of New York , so what we are doing is definitely unique and valuable.
Over the past 30 years, the NYU Community Fund has awarded over 1,600 grants to local nonprofit organizations totaling more than $2.5M.
At an award ceremony earlier this month, New York University’s Office of Civic Engagement awarded more than $160,000 grants to 83 community-based non-profit organizations with money raised from hundreds of NYU employees, "each of whom believes in the important work being done by these organizations every day." said Bill Pfeiffer, director of the Office of Civic Engagement.
Medical Administrator Pat Troy holds the plaque awarded by NYU Community Fund.
Of those 83 organizations, including the United Way of New York City, Project Renewal received the Thom Fluellen Award to support our groundbreaking Mobile Medical Program:
Since 2001, one outstanding organization each year has received a distinctive $5,000 grant in memory of the former Community Fund staff director, Thom Fluellen, whose spirit and enthusiasm for this community was an inspiration to countless others. This year, the award went to Project Renewal.
Founded in 1967, Project Renewal empowers homeless men and women struggling with addiction and/or mental illness to rebuild their lives with renewed health, homes, and jobs. Project Renewal's comprehensive and innovative approach combines healthcare, addiction and mental health treatment, employment services, and housing to ensure clients remain in permanent homes and become productive members of their communities.
“The $5,000 Thom Fluellen Award will help support our groundbreaking mobile medical programs - MedVan, StreetSmart, LifeLine and CareVan - which connect chronically homeless New Yorkers with ongoing health care,” said Mitchell Netburn, president & CEO of Project Renewal. "The award is a wonderful endorsement of our mission to improve the health of homeless men and women with complex needs who face multiple barriers to accessing high quality health care."
“As of this year, the NYU Community Fund celebrates its 30th year of operation, proud to have awarded more than 1,600 grants totaling more than $2.5M to community groups since the program’s inception,” said Pfeiffer. “We look forward to many more years to come.”
Many many thanks to all who contributed to make our 2013 Gala Benefit and Auction a great success! You helped us raise almost $800,000 to fund mission critical programs.
You might have seen Harry as a homeless man on the train years ago. Since childhood he has lived on the streets and spent almost 30 years in prison during his life. But now Harry is back! It is our honor to introduce you to Harry Dickerson, who gives us hope for New Yorkers still struggling to reclaim their lives.
Watch his story and be inspired!
What is the HOPE Survey?
In February New York City’s Department of Homeless Services and hundreds of volunteers completed its annual point-in-time HOPE census of the unsheltered homeless population, first conducted in 2005. The report details changes in the count of unsheltered homeless men and women by borough, and identifies whether they are found living in the subway stations and trains underground or at street level.
What does this mean for Project Renewal?
At Project Renewal we focus on serving the hardest to reach homeless men and women—those with mental illness, drug addiction, or both. These clients are most often homeless without shelter (those represented by the HOPE Survey) or are among the 11,000 single adults living in emergency housing.
So what can you do to help?
Four nights every week we partner with Manhattan Outreach Consortium to increase outreach to homeless men and women not in shelters by providing primary care through our medical vans.
These mobile clinics bring healthcare to homeless men and women where they are, delivering primary care to those who are also struggling with mental illness and addiction.
On those nights, healthcare providers seek out street homeless clients in places where they gather including behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Harlem Y. The goal is to treat health needs before they escalate to emergency room visits and to encourage patients to seek ongoing care ideally in a residential treatment program.
What can your gift do today?
Provides needed items such as socks and sweatshirts, which ensures follow-up visits for continued care
Stocks the MedVan with first aid and over-the-counter medications for a week
Covers an OraQuick HIV/AIDS test and counseling
Gives 25 patients access to the MedVan, our mobile clinic that provides healthcare, psychiatry, lab testing, and pharmacy all in one van
Supportive housing ends homelessness! Geffner House staff members joined City Council Member Annabel Palma at a City Hall rally on March 18 to urge restoration of social service funding slashed in the Mayor’s proposed budget for FY 2014.
Clinical Director Amy DeFilippi (lower left) gave her first-hand account of how case managers help tenants regain health and stay out of shelters, prisons, and emergency rooms. Her work experience is backed up by a 2010 HASA study that found that on-site case managers reduced emergency room visits by 90% and resulted in savings of $80,000 in acute care PER person per year.
In Amy’s own words:
The right to housing and the right to healthcare are necessary, together, to end homelessness in New York. Homelessness and poor health are locked in a cycle of cause and effect. Poor health puts one at risk for homelessness, as it is estimated that one half of the personal bankruptcy cases in the US are caused by health problems. Many of these people, particularly those with mental health and substance abuse problems, end up in the costly shelter system and flood our emergency rooms with needs better served by primary care physicians.
Supportive housing works to end the cycle of homelessness for our city’s neediest people. It is a permanent solution to homelessness that links people with mental illnesses, substance abuse issues, HIV/AIDS to cost affective, affordable and stable homes. With on-site case management and a full time clinical staff, tenants have the support they need to address their ongoing health, mental health, and addiction issues.
I am the Clinical Director Project Renewal’s Geffner House, a 307 unit SRO, or Single Room Occupancy, in Times Square. A large percentage of our clients are from HASA. In New York City alone there are 4,500 tenants with HIV/AIDS living in supportive housing. I have been working as a supervisor and case manager for several years and in this time I have seen the work that on-site case management does to stabilize people which limits their recidivism into the shelter system, prison, and emergency rooms.
In working with one of my clients I have witnessed his four yearly inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations dwindle to two years without any inpatient visits. With my support he has found the right mental health providers to stabilize him psychiatrically, and I have provided him with the consistent reminders necessary to take all of his medications daily. He has now developed a healthy routine that he did not feel was possible from his many years of being street homeless. With my support and encouragement he has established consistent medical services. The stability in his health has given him the courage to battle his 45 year substance abuse and dependence problems. I am happy to say that he is now one year sober and counting. He attributes this to the daily support and encouragement our consistent therapeutic relationship has provided him. To use his words “you have reminded me that I have something to live for”.
I have come here today to say that the proposed budget cuts will not save tax-payers money. Churchill, Truman, Dostoyevsky have all said something along the lines of “A society is indeed measured on how we treat our most vulnerable population”. If we truly believe this as a society, then these proposed budget cuts are preposterous. They won’t save our city money, but they will deprive some of our most needy fellow New Yorkers of the much needed services and support required to live an independent life.
These proposed cuts will not save tax payers money. In 2010 HASA did an analysis of HASA funded supportive housing sponsored by Harlem United. They found that the result of on-site case managers reduced emergency room visits by 90%, and nursing home reliance by 54%. This resulted in a savings of $80,000 dollars in acute care PER person per year.
I am here to thank you for restoring the budget cuts from last year, and to thank the City Council for its ongoing support of HASA programs. But I am here, for the third year in a row, to ask you to continue to make supportive housing programs a priority for some of our neediest New Yorkers and to restore the proposed budget cuts.
More photos from the day
Project Renewal HOPE Survey team took to the New York City streets on Monday, January 28th alongside 3,000 volunteers gathered to count the men and women sleeping there. Starting at 10pm on one of the coldest nights of the year, these volunteers spread out to every corner of the five boroughs, covering 7,000 HOPE areas designated to them includingstreets, subways, parks and even alley ways.
Organized by NYC’s Department of Homeless Services, the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) is a point-in-time estimate conducted every year citywide by the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) since 2005. The survey is conducted in January to produce an estimate of the total number of individuals living unsheltered in New York City. The count helps Project Renewal and other agencies better target healthcare, outreach, and housing services to respond to the needs of unsheltered men and women.
Thousands of volunteers are needed in order to effectively survey the city and gather the most accurate estimate. Many thanks to Team Project Renewal —led by Emily Brown, and including Catalina Gironza, Kelsey Petrone, and Lisa Raffetto, who successfully completed their three areas in the Financial District.
NYC Department of Homeless Services
Call 311 for:
- Information on accessing shelter services including directions to family and single adult intake centers, or
- Mobile street outreach services to request that an outreach team visit an individual in need
- Locate adult drop-in centers, including 24-hour drop-In centers and those open from 7:30am-8:30pm
- For a nearby meal or food pantry
Human Resources Administration InfoLine
- Food Stamps and emergency food programs
- Public health insurance (Medicaid)
- Temporary cash assistance and benefits
- Domestic Violence Support
Project Renewal Progams
Medical Detox (8 East 3rd Street, 2nd Floor)
(212) 533-8400 x360
Crisis Center (8 East 3rd Street, 4th Floor)
Recovery Center Outpatient Counseling
(212) 533-8400 x361
Next Step Employment Program
- If you are 30 days sober have your caseworker fill out this referral form
Culinary Arts Training Program
(212) 533-8400 x130
ScanVan Women’s Health Screenings
- Provides free mammograms to low-income women without health insurance, also accepts health insurance
- View Schedule Here
I spoke to trustee Jules Ranz to catch up about his work as the Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center and how that works with his role as a Project Renewal Trustee (a position he has held since 1995). Turns out he was just endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association for contributions to field of psychiatry:
“I’ve spent my entire career in the public sector, the last 30 years as Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia. My mentor at the time was Dr. Christian Beels, a trustee at Project Renewal. He encouraged me to join the Board. It’s the only board I’ve served on, and I have valued my board service for several reasons.
The Public Psychiatry Fellowship is the largest training fellowship in the country and until about 10 years ago, it was the only one. We train 10 Fellows a year to prepare for psychiatric service in the public sector. With more psychiatrists going to work in organizational settings than to a private practice, there is a growing need for this specialized training. The Fellows we accept have already completed 4 years of medical school followed by 4 years of residency. The Fellows spend a year with us in classwork and field work integrating theory and practice. The field work is a 3 day a week placement in a community organization like Project Renewal. The goal is to use the agency as a training site with the hope that the Fellow gets hired at the site at the end. This happens about 60-70% of the time.
Project Renewal takes a Fellow just about every year and most Fellows who stay in New York City stay on at Project Renewal as a staff member. So most of the psychiatrists at Project Renewal have been trained by us! And, all three Medical Directors for Psychiatry came through the Fellowship (Hunter McQuistion, Elizabeth Oudens, and now Allison Grolnick.) I take a lot of pride in helping Project Renewal create a cadre of effective psychiatrists dedicated to helping homeless men and women.
Project Renewal is a leader in New York City in providing the most comprehensive services for homeless New Yorkers. It excels in providing the entire package – recovery, medical, dental, psychiatry, employment, and housing. I feel deeply connected to Project Renewal’s mission and to its success. I bring a clinical background and expertise in public psychiatry to the Board. In return, Project Renewal’s Program Directors are frequent presenters at Board meetings so I get to hear first-hand about the effectiveness of its programs.”
Project Renewal Trustee Jules Ranz recognized for excellence in psychiatric training
The American Psychiatric Association awarded its 2013 Vestermark Award to Dr. Jules Ranz for outstanding contributions to the education and development of psychiatrists. The award is jointly supported by APA and the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Ranz was recognized for his excellence, leadership, and creativity in the field of psychiatric education. He is the Director of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center and has been a Project Renewal Trustee since 1995.
Harry Dickerson was one of the homeless men you may have passed on the street.
“I remember there were times I would be on the train and I’d be so embarrassed because I was dirty. And I used to just look for a hole to crawl into.”
But when he reached bottom and decided to turn his life around, we were there for Harry because of gifts from people like you.“Project Renewal gave me a chance and stood next to me and they‘re still next to me.”
Harry is one of thousands of once-homeless people who found ways to rebuild their lives through Project Renewal’s assistance with permanent housing, employment, overnight shelter, addiction treatment, and much, much more.
Next year thousands of homeless men and women will reach the same point that Harry did, mustering the courage to believe they can have more for their lives.
When Harry was only 11 years old, his mother suddenly died. He and his brothers were alone.
They were forced to grow up too fast. They had too few positive influences. And sadly, his brothers couldn’t survive the streets … all three died young.
By the time Harry turned to Project Renewal, he had already spent eight-and-a-half years in prison. He was homeless and addicted to drugs.
But he did not give up. In fact, Harry made it.
Harry said, ”it’s not how you start out at the gate, it’s how you finish. Today I’ve been in my apartment three years, I’m in my 5th year with the job I’m at, I’ve never worked anywhere for 5 years. My job is important to me, I’m doing something, I’m being productive not just to society but to me. By me being good to me, it rubs off on society.”
President & CEO
P.S. There’s still time to make a tax-deductible gift for 2012. Thank you for helping a neighbor in need.