Homeless Services at Family & Children's Agency has created a new advocacy group in collaboration with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness.

The goal of the Consumer Advocacy Council meetings, which gather the second and fourth Thursdays of every month at Grace Episcopal Church, 1 Union Park, Norwalk, is to encourage the homeless and constituents from the community to learn new leadership skills to advocate for themselves and others. The local Consumer Advocacy Council meeting is part of Opening Doors Greater Norwalk to prevent and end homelessness.

"The Advocacy Council meetings inform those experiencing homelessness as to the different types of local and state government and how they can use their story to advocate for their needs within the community," said Chris Jachino, director of Homeless Services at Family & Children's Agency.

The meetings are primarily comprised of clients experiencing homelessness and receiving professional services from Family & Children's Agency. The goal is to involve both service providers and constituents from the Greater Norwalk region to learn how they can support the needs of these individuals and prevent the cycle of homelessness.

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Sarah Petela, project coordinator with the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, leads each of the meetings. The offices of Homeless Services and the Community Connections Center, a day center providing professional support for the homeless, were destroyed during Superstorm Sandy and have been temporarily relocated to Grace Episcopal Church.

For information, call 203-505-2046 or visit www.FamilyandChildrensAgency.org.

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, in partnership with communities throughout the state, creates change through leadership, community organizing, advocacy, research, and education.

Homeless Services at Family & Children's Agency supports adult members of the community experiencing homelessness. The Community Connections Center is the first step for many clients toward rebuilding their lives. The center is open seven days a week and offers clients vocational skills training and helps adults learn about federal and state resources available to them. The center also provides formerly homeless adults the opportunity to learn skills that they require to maintain housing and independent living in the agency's Supportive Housing Program. With no more than 12 clients per case manager, Family & Children's Agency's staff offers full support to clients.