Sunrise Family Resource Center wins award, $25k
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct title for Amelia Silver.
BENNINGTON -- The Sunrise Family Resource Center has won a prestigious award, along with $25,000.
Amelia Silver, development director of Sunrise Family Resource Center, said the S. Whitney Landon Award is from The Turrell Fund. It was awarded to Sunrise in Burlington on June 5 at a ceremony.
"It's going to be allocated to continue our work on the issues of homelessness and housing," Silver said.
Sunrise focuses on homeless populations that fall through the cracks between other systems, specifically teenagers with children who can not sign rent agreements.
"Although Sunrise is not a designated housing agency, the sheer number of homeless teen parents and families who have used our services over the past five years spurred us to become involved in individual housing search efforts and community-wide housing discussions and initiatives," said Sunrise Family Services Director Denise Main in a release.
Silver said Sunrise had to apply to receive the award and compete against other groups.
She shared a letter of support written by a woman who was helped by the organization. According to the letter, in January 2013 she was homeless with three children. In July of that year, the North Bennington shelter they had been living in closed and they moved to a hotel for a month while Sunrise worked to secure them permanent housing and childcare.
"The services provided to my family by Sunrise Resource Center have been invaluable, and I know I am not the only mother whose life has been changed by their dedication and support," she wrote.
Silver said Sunrise recognized the impact being homeless can have on children and seeks to break the cycle of poverty that follow many families through generations. It works with landlords and teaches prospective tenants how to advocate for themselves and work with said landlords.
To this end Sunrise created "Renters 101," a five week course open and free to the community that taught people about being a renter. Main said some of the award money will go to that program, but the group has to meet and decide how to best allocate the lion's share of it.
"We are honored to receive the S. Whitney Landon Award," wrote Silver in a release. "This generous grant will greatly enhance Sunrise's efforts at reducing the vitiating effects of homelessness and making the needs of homeless families and children more visible."
According to its website, the Turrell Fund was created in 1935 by Herbert and Margaret Turrell to help organizations that support youth.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.
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