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“The basis of socialized behavior is belonging – not just passing through,” says Ms. Doris Clarke of the Brooklyn Community Housing and Services.  “Along with that comes responsibility being in the community, making connections, investing in the corner store, acknowledging your neighbor, showing that you care.”  BCHS, now celebrating its silver anniversary, has cared actively since its inception in 1978.  Next month, it will reach out to its neighbors for support. 
On June 5, 2003, (BCHS) will present Fashion on Fulton & Friends at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  The event will showcase the distinctive, unique fashions of Brooklyn’s top designers, including Brenda Brunson Bey for Tribal Truths, Moshood, Courtney Washington and Tres Elegance.  
BCHS provides a safe haven for thousands of homeless and/or psychiatrically disabled individuals, homeless families and those who are at great risk of homelessness. The organization’s primary goal is “to bring people back from crises to community by providing living environments that, unlike the shelter system or social service institutions, promote independence through responsible community living.” 
“This is an exciting collaborative venture between the worlds of fashion and human services,” says Ms. Clarke. “Fashion on Fulton and Friends nontraditional partners are working together to contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of this community.”
While JPMorgan Chase is a major sponsor, many small businesses in the community are also supporting the BCHS Board of Directors event with sponsorships.  They include 4W Circle of Art & Enterprise, Church Women United, Jack & Jill of Brooklyn, and BAM LDC.
(BCHS) was founded 25 years ago as Pastoral and Educational Services, Inc., in response to President Jimmy Carter’s urgent call for community-based solutions to the deinstitutionalization of mentally ill individuals.  It is a non-profit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of individuals and families with special needs, and provides housing and supportive services to over 500 individuals annually.   They work with a wide range of populations:  homeless single mothers, mentally ill adults, long-time homeless individuals, veterans and the working poor.  All gain from stability in housing, community living and a supportive environment.
BCHS was one of the earliest organizations to integrate people with severe mental illness into the community through scatter-site housing in residential buildings.  The agency rented the apartments, screened the residents and provided linkage to a network of supportive services.  In 1980, the agency began with 8 apartments.  Today this scatter-site housing program serves 123 individuals with long-term chronic mental illness in 101 apartments. 
In 1991, BCHS renovated a derelict apartment building in a depressed area of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and created Brooklyn Gardens, our special needs residence within the Brooklyn Gardens complex is Oak Hall, providing permanent housing for 74 formerly homeless single adults, Ivy House providing long-term transitional housing for 18 formerly homeless individuals with psychiatric disabilities, and Arbor Inn, run by Ms. Clarke, which provides short-term transitional housing for 44 homeless single mothers with one child.
With residents whose ages range from under six days to over sixty years, Brooklyn Gardens offers a continuum of permanent and transitional housing options in one attractive apartment complex for three distinct special needs groups:  homeless single mothers with one young child; individuals with psychiatric disabilities; and single homeless adults.  (Brooklyn Gardens was the first residence in the nation to provide housing and support services to such diverse populations in one enclosed community.)
Building on the success of Brooklyn Gardens and the scatter-site program, BCHS initiated a Bridge to Home Rental Assistance Program to help New York City shelter graduates return to productive citizenship in the community at large.  In addition,  the agency’s Working Community program offers services for residents of all BCHS housing programs through highly focused activities aimed at preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining employment.
From a beginning of 24 beds, BCHS has grown to serve more than 500 people annually. Currently, BCHS operates five residential programs with a staff of close to 100 and a budget of $6,000, 000 from grants, private contributions and neighborhood support.
BCHS is located at 105 Carlton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.  For information on the ongoing programs and the June 5 event call 718/625-4545.

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