Miriam’s Kitchen Honors Senator Chris Murphy with Inaugural “Mission Possible Champion of the Year” Award
Senator Honored for Collaborative Commitment to Addressing Homelessness in Connecticut
April 22, 2014 – Washington, D.C. – Miriam’s Kitchen today announced that Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) will receive the organization’s first “Mission Possible Champion of the Year” award. The award honors members of the community who have gone above and beyond in making homelessness as a priority issue. It will be awarded on May 3rd at Miriam’s Kitchen’s Mission Possible Gala.
“This year’s Mission Possible gala is all about the importance of collaboration,” said Miriam’s Kitchen’s President and CEO, Scott Schenkelberg. “Ending chronic homelessness requires urgency from all members of the community – including the business community, service providers, advocates, people experiencing homelessness, and especially our policymakers. Senator Murphy’s efforts show just how effective that kind of collaboration can be when policymakers take a leadership role.”
During his first term in office, Sen. Murphy made dramatic commitments to the region’s homeless population. Upon learning that homeless veterans were living in the woods in Waterbury, CT, he convened federal, state and local leaders – together with local veterans – to find solutions. The ongoing effort ultimately expanded HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers by more than 300 percent in the state of Connecticut.
Senator Murphy bolstered this effort by expanding services to Connecticut’s at-risk veterans, including access to veteran health care and employment opportunities. Both services are critical to supporting veterans in their efforts to emerge from homelessness, and to keep them from becoming homeless again.
Senator Murphy also participated in efforts to better understand the challenges and circumstances of Connecticut’s broader homeless population. In May, 2013, he participated in a five-day Food Stamp challenge, eating on a budget of $4.80 a day (the average amount a Connecticut food stamps recipient receives). Over the course of the challenge, the Senator lost six pounds due to lack of proper nutrition.
In December 2013, Senator Murphy spent an entire day with a homeless resident of New Haven, accompanying him to appointments with service providers, travelling by public transportation and on foot. His experience living a day in the life of a homeless individual — visiting shelters, health clinics, an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and the library to apply for jobs – shaped the Senator’s perspective on how his most vulnerable neighbors live each day.
“The reality of homelessness isn’t something that most people can easily understand. It impacts our entire community, often in ways that aren’t obvious,” Murphy said. “When federal, state and local policymakers collaborate with service providers and advocates, the solutions become very clear: chronically homeless people need housing. It is the key to helping our most at-risk neighbors build a better life for themselves, and it is critical to containing the high costs of chronic homelessness. I applaud Miriam’s Kitchen for enlisting the business community in this collaboration, and I am honored to be recognized at this year’s Mission Possible gala.”
About Mission Possible
Taking place May 3, 2014, Mission Possible is a celebration of Miriam’s Kitchen’s efforts to end chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C., and an invitation for the business community to be a part of the solution. It aims to leverage the skills, talents and resources of the business community to create meaningful, sustainable change in the District of Columbia. Mission Possible is made possible through the generous sponsorship of numerous members of the businesses community, including Latham and Watkins, LLP; The Advisory Board Company; Booz Allen Hamilton; and host sponsor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
About Miriam’s Kitchen
Celebrating 30 years of service, Miriam’s Kitchen is committed to ending chronic homelessness in Washington, D.C. Miriam’s Kitchen advocates for permanent supportive housing as a long-term solution, while meeting short-term needs by providing healthy meals and high-quality social services to more than 5,000 homeless individuals each year. www.miriamskitchen.org
Director of Communication