In July of 1969, 50 years ago, Tempro Development Co. Inc. was formed. Community members Sanford Gradinger, Erwin Witt, Thomas Fink, Stephen Jacobstein and Seymour Grau founded Tempro Development Co.Inc. after being inspired by Rabbi Bronstein. Tempro was started as a major social action project of Temple B’rith Kodesh.
The founding members of Tempro were concerned about the plight of homeless families in Rochester after the riots and the unacceptable conditions homeless families faced in local hotels and shelters where they were placed. In addition families were divided and not able to stay together which made a traumatic situation worse. The founders of Tempro started the project with three houses near the public market where homeless families could stay. Over time the number of homes where homeless families can stay has increased to eleven. These eleven homes are fully equipped for families to stay together. At one point in the history of Tempro the organization had upwards of fifty five units to house homeless families and veterans.
At this time Tempro is focusing its efforts on managing the eleven houses as the other programs have been passed on to other organizations who have the capacity to manage them. Tempro currently is at a critical point. The organization needs to strengthen its Board so it can continue as an integral social action program of Temple B’rith Kodesh. Many of our current Board members are at a point in their lives where they would like to transition Tempro to a new group of leaders. Tempro is looking for interested Temple members who have strengths/skills in areas such as legal expertise, accounting practices, property management, social work and fundraising. There are many opportunities presented to Tempro that we are unable to take on due to the small size of our Board. The needs in our community are great and we need Temple members to help us help our Rochester community! Please contact Dan Gurell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jerry Zakalik to find out more.
“Tempro” stands for TEMple PROject to help the homeless!
In 1969 congregants at Temple B’rith Kodesh and their Rabbi became concerned about conditions at a rundown hotel where the County Welfare Department placed homeless families and individuals in a single hotel room without cooking facilities. These congregants created a corporation, tapping their professional and business contacts, raised funds, got support from a local bank, and developed three houses on vacant city lots. This effort continued so that over the next 15 years eleven homes have been built. A contract with the County Department of Social Services, utilizing federal and state funds, enables us to house over 150 families a year with a partnership that includes management by the development corporation of the local Catholic Diocese, and case management by an innovative social services agency.
|Jerry Zakalik gives update on Tempro activities at TBK Annual Meeting|
The Rochester Continuum of Care Corporation prioritizes public and charitable services to the homeless. Households with three to 10 family members are assigned to an appropriate Tempro home. The care manager assists them in obtaining kitchenware, food, linens, bus tokens, and toiletries and hygiene products so that they can without delay continue to live as a homogeneous family. Were it not for the Tempro houses, they would be housed in a Homeless Shelter, where in many cases separation by gender and age in dormitory bunks are offered. Where public transportation is not available, our van gets the family to medical appointments, and required intervention programs. Children are able to continue the very next day in their present school.
Expert case managers know how to get the family rehoused within a month to 45 days. They access programs that provide funding for a security deposit and first month's rent, and in some cases continuing financial supplements sufficient to enable the family to lease a safe and sound apartment.
Joel Kunkler, the Homeless Services Manager at Person Centered Housing Options will be glad to hear from congregants who wish to make donations of furniture, kitchenware, personal hygiene products and toiletries. He will also like to hear from volunteer efforts by congregants or others with skills that will enable them to volunteer to coach immigrant families or tutor children. The entire Tempro operation is regulated by an agency of the State, which has indicated a high degree of satisfaction with us, and just awarded us $100,000 for furnishings, rehabilitation and repairs.
Congregants are encouraged to consider participation in a committee, leading to serving on the Board of Directors. These experiences can enhance one’s skills which can be carried over to your own professional development. We would be very pleased to hear from individuals with a desire to take individual or shared responsibility for money management for a small charitable corporation, coordination of volunteer activities, outreach and communication to the Temple and the Federation community, IT and social media, and events planned for the client families. Ours is a congenial and welcoming group of students, householders, and business and professional folks.
To learn more, or to volunteer in any capacity, call Richard Rosen, Special Projects Director, at 585-415-3448 to be forwarded to the appropriate person.
How to donate
- Write a check out to Tempro Development Company Inc. and mail to:
Temple B’rith Kodesh
2131 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
- Credit and debit card payments are accepted, call Diana Sheedy at 585-244-7060 for details.
Tempro is a 501c3 organization and all contributions to the organization are tax deductible. Contact Tempro here.