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Cazenovia Recovery Awarded by HAWNY

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Al Halley (second from left) accepting the award from HAWNY

This month, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY) presented Cazenovia Recovery Systems with the 2014 Monsignor Henry J. Gugino Organizational Service Award. The award is named after Monsignor Henry J. Gugino, who was incredibly passionate about serving the poor. The award recognizes the achievements of an agency that has provided outstanding service to homeless individuals while also helping to eliminate the causes of homelessness.

Last year, the Salvation Army received the award and previous winners also include Friends of Night People, Restoration Society—Harbor House, the American Red Cross, and many others.

The award was presented to Cazenovia during HAWNY’s 10th annual Homeless Alliance Luncheon on December 12. While discussing the state of homelessness in Western New York, Dale Zuchlewski, HAWNY’s executive director, noted that “Erie County is one of the top 60 performers in the U.S. for housing chronically homeless individuals.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a “chronically homeless individual” as someone with a disability who has either been homeless for at least a year or who has had at least four instances of homelessness within the past three years. Cazenovia Recovery prioritizes housing chronically homeless individuals.

Cazenovia Recovery Staff at the HAWNY Luncheon

Cazenovia Recovery Staff at the HAWNY Luncheon

Mark Poloncarz, Erie County executive, served as the keynote speaker to the event and spoke of the “New Buffalo” being experienced across the area: new and exciting developments downtown, positive nationwide press, and an improving economy. He stressed, however, that “we need to create a new Buffalo for each and every one of us to enjoy” and that “only by working together can we create a better community for all.”

Byron McKinney, the housing SPOA (Single Point of Accountability) coordinator at the Erie County Department of Mental Health, affirmed that Cazenovia Recovery Systems “brings people back to life.” He also currently sits on HAWNY’s board of directors and used to work for Cazenovia Recovery Systems as the director of quality assurance and grant management. He presented the award to Al Halley, Cazenovia Recovery’s chief operations officer.

Upon receiving the award, Al stated that he was “very appreciative to have this award bestowed upon our agency.” He took the opportunity to inspire the luncheon’s attendees by stressing that everyone should “always look for a reason to be of service.” Al also recognized our agency’s talented staff by stating that they are what allows our organization to excel. In closing, he stated that Cazenovia Recovery is “just a spoke in the wheel of services designed to eradicate homelessness.”

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