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Update from IPH Executive Director regarding last month's incident on Sheridan Avenue


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact:

Kristen Giroux, LMSW

Deputy Director, IPH

518-434-8021 | kristeng@iphny.org


October 5, 2022


Statement from IPH Executive Director with updates to last month's

incident on Sheridan Avenue


[Albany, NY] – The below statement may be attributed to IPH Executive Director, Janine Robitaille.


I first want to thank you for the many words and gestures of love, encouragement, and support that we have received since the harrowing incident at our Community Connections facility in Albany. We are extremely grateful to be part of such a kind and generous community, and to know that Jon is making steady progress in his recovery.


The past five weeks have been the most challenging we’ve ever faced, but this attack has only strengthened our resolve to serve our neighbors who need us. A group of IPH staff conducted an exhaustive review of policies, procedures and safeguards we can implement to prevent workplace violence and ensure that we are delivering our vital services in a place where all can feel safe, a process that included soliciting the views and concerns of guests and colleagues. I am pleased to report that we are moving forward with a plan to reopen Community Connections on Monday, October 10, with the following security enhancements in place:


• Two additional security personnel to greet and screen visitors.

• Bag searches for all visitors, without exception.

• A search of all lockers, followed by periodic, unannounced searches.

• Hand-held wands will be used to sweep visitors to prevent weapons from entering the facility.

• Additional training for staff in conflict de-escalation and self-defense tactics.

• Establishment of a Safety Committee that meets regularly to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.


Security has always been an emphasis for us. We have utilized cameras, intercoms, double-locked doors, staff training and safety surveys. The additional measures outlined above will require significant additional investment, but they will strengthen our safety program and we are committed to their implementation. We continue to have conversations with staff, volunteers, and guests about safety and security across all IPH programs and facilities and will implement further measures as necessary to protect the physical and emotional wellbeing of all who engage with IPH. We welcome any feedback or suggestions that will help us in this pursuit.


It is important that IPH facilities be safe and welcoming places for the people we serve as well as for the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly on behalf of our most vulnerable neighbors. We believe the measures we are implementing will get us closer to achieving this goal at all times.


The closure of Community Connections over the past month has led to unmet needs in our community, reminding us all why we exist and underscoring the importance of resuming our services. We do so proudly, with renewed resolve and purpose.


Please be in touch any time you have a question, comment, suggestion, or concern. We deeply appreciate your support of IPH and our mission.


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About IPH (Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless)

Serving the community since 1984, IPH is a leader in providing non-denominational programs and services that address the needs of homeless and at-risk individuals and families. Without judgment, IPH provides individualized services to meet each person’s unique set of circumstances. IPH operates year-round and seasonal emergency shelters; permanent housing; and community-based programs that include a daytime drop-in center and health and wellness services. IPH serves approximately 1,500 individuals and families in Albany, Fulton and Montgomery Counties on an annual basis. For more information about IPH, visit www.iphny.org.

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