Text of proclamation: The County of Centre Proclamation: NUMBER 35 OF 2016 WHEREAS, for the past several years the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness have sponsored National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; and WHEREAS, the purpose of this week, is to educate the public about the many reasons people are hungry and homeless including the shortage of affordable housing, housing discrimination especially towards people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and single parents, the need to economic investment in rural communities and the lack of cost of living increases to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and WHEREAS, there are many organizations committed to sheltering, and providing supportive services; and WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women's core values is economic justice which includes services for residents and programs to reduce hunger and homelessness; and WHEREAS, the Centre County Commissioners recognize that hunger and homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families in Centre County; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Centre County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim November 12-20, 2016 as” National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Centre County and encourages all residents to seek out activities and organizations to promote education on these issues. ADOPTED this 15th day of November, 2016 CENTRE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week

This week is National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week. This week “hundreds of colleges, churches, community groups, and service agencies” from around the country gather in each of their communities to highlight the issues of poverty. We focus on the impact of poverty – housing insufficiency, food insufficiency, and homelessness.

This morning,  the Centre County Commissioners presented Ni-Ta-Nee NOW with a proclamation declaring November 12-20, 2016 (slightly longer than one week in our case) as “National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.”  I accepted the proclamation on behalf of NOW and then spoke in general as to why this is an important issue.

picture of the three Centre County Commissioners presenting the proclamation to Ni-Ta-Nee NOW.

Centre County Commissioners presenting the “National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week” proclamation to Ni-Ta-Nee NOW. L. to R.: Mark Higgins, Michael Pipe, Joanne Tosti-Vasey, and Steve Dershem.

Hunger and homelessness is a problem in our county as well as the rest of the United States for low-income people and women fleeing violence in the home. I spoke about this problem at the public meeting and indicated to the public that we want our community to know that hunger and homelessness is a problem here in Centre County. I also talked about where you can receive services here in the county if you are hungry, homeless, or are at threat of becoming hungry and homeless.

We worked with the Commissioners to create this proclamation. The public meeting will be aired on our local public cable station and printed in at least one local newspaper.

Here is the proclamation:

Text of proclamation: The County of Centre Proclamation: NUMBER 35 OF 2016 WHEREAS, for the past several years the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness have sponsored National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; and WHEREAS, the purpose of this week, is to educate the public about the many reasons people are hungry and homeless including the shortage of affordable housing, housing discrimination especially towards people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and single parents, the need to economic investment in rural communities and the lack of cost of living increases to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and WHEREAS, there are many organizations committed to sheltering, and providing supportive services; and WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women's core values is economic justice which includes services for residents and programs to reduce hunger and homelessness; and WHEREAS, the Centre County Commissioners recognize that hunger and homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families in Centre County; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Centre County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim November 12-20, 2016 as” National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” in Centre County and encourages all residents to seek out activities and organizations to promote education on these issues. ADOPTED this 15th day of November, 2016 CENTRE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Proclamation by Centre County Commissioners declaring Nov. 12-20, 2016 National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week.

And here’s the written text of my thank you to the Commissioners.

I’m Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Vice President – Action of Ni-Ta-Nee NOW. Ni-Ta-Nee NOW is the local chapter of the National Organization for Women. Michele Hamilton—our local chapter president and President of Pennsylvania NOW—sends her regrets for being unable to be here this morning.

First of all, thank you, Mike, Mark, and Steve for acknowledging this week on behalf of the county.

We want to thank all the programs that are working to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Centre County. Programs include the various food banks, Meals on Wheels, Out of the Cold, Housing Transitions, the Women’s Resource Center and the Youth Service Bureau.

We also appreciate those working to protect the rights of people seeking permanent housing, especially MidPenn Legal Services.

The National Organization for Women knows and understands that sensitively and appropriately dealing with housing insecurity, food insecurity, and homelessness is necessary to maintain the health, employment, and educational opportunities for all as well as dealing with the safety issues of women and their families who have to or need to flee violence.

So, once again, thank you for acknowledging this week and the need to focus on hunger and homeless throughout the county.

Joanne Tosti-Vasey for Bellefonte Borough Council

On May 19, 2015, I will be standing outside my precinct polling place asking my constituents to vote for me in the 2015 Primary for a seat on the Bellefonte Borough Council representing the 3rd (or West) Ward.  There are three seats for this section of town with one seat being elected for a four-year term starting on January 1, 2016.

There are two people — myself and a 32-year incumbent — running on the Democratic ticket. There is no one running on the Republican ticket. So I am running both a regular primary campaign on the Democratic side and a write-in campaign on the Republican ballot.

Volunteers on both sides of the aisle are writing letters, door knocking, and making calls on my behalf.  Click here, here, here, here, here, and here for links to the letters to the editor that have so far appeared in the Centre Daily Times endorsing my campaign for Bellefonte Borough Council. Thanks everyone.

As part of the campaign, I was interviewed by C-NET, our local cable access TV network on April 25.  The following clips are from that interview broken down by question.

Question 1: Why are you running?

Question 2: How should Bellefonte Council deal with developing a town budget?

Question 3: How do you see Bellefonte dealing with affordable housing?

Question 4: Thoughts on the development of the Garman and Cadillac sites

FYI, the Garman and Cadillac buildings, aka “The Mews,” is the downtown development project.  This project will renovate the Cadillac Building (designed by Anna Wagner Keichline, Pennsylvania’s first female registered architect) and build a new building on the former site of the Garman Opera House and the Hotel DoDe into a set affordable housing units. There has been a lot of controversy about this project including how decisions were made in selecting the developer and how the community and historic preservation were ignored during the process.

 

Question 5: Courthouse v. Town

With legal issues surrounding the Courthouse, how do you raise the town above that? How do you let people know that Bellefonte is more than just the Courthouse and the people involved in it?

 

Question 6: Should Bellefonte become part of the Centre Region?

Centre County is divided into seven planning regions. The Centre Region is where State College and the Pennsylvania State University are located.  It is the population center of the county.  Bellefonte is part of the Nittany Valley Region.

Question 7: Economic Development of Bellefonte’s Downtown and the Waterfront Districts

Q8: Tell us about yourself

In answer to this question I talked about my community organizing and community policy background and how that qualifies me to serve as a member of the Bellefonte Borough Council.

AND NOW: Get Out and Vote!

So… if you live in Pennsylvania, remember to vote on Tuesday, May 19. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm.

If you live in Bellefonte’s 3rd (West) Ward, please vote for Joanne Tosti-Vasey.  If you are a Democratic, I am number 2 on the Borough Council section of the Democratic ballot; please fill in the bubble next to my name on your ballot. If you are a Republican, please write in “Joanne Tosti-Vasey” in the Borough Council section of your ballot.

Help make a difference in your community. VOTE!