2016

Help Wanted

BCHT would like to find some special people who wish to be part of our mission, who share our values and goals. We need a bookkeeper and a construction manager, as noted below.

Bookkeeper Job Description

Hours: 3 - 4 days a week 11am- 3p

Summary: The bookkeeper will handle all the daily accounting transactions (A/P & A/R), post to the general ledger, reconcile accounts and create financial reports. The bookkeeper will also provide clerical and administrative support to management as requested and communicate with homeowners/renters.

Principal Accountabilities:

·       Handle payment of supplier invoices and any debt due for payment in timely manner

·       Monitor debt levels and ensure that receivables/mortgage payments are collected promptly

·       Record cash receipts and prepare bank deposits

·       Conduct a monthly reconciliation of bank accounts

·       Maintain the chart of accounts

·       Create and issue financial statements - quarterly profit and loss reports, annual report statistics

·       Maintain the annual budget and calculate variances from the budget and report significant issues to Director (trustees)

·       Assemble information for external auditors for the annual audit

·       Comply with local, state, and federal government reporting requirements

·       Monitor office supply levels and purchase/reorder supplies and equipment as authorized by Director

·       Update donor data base and record and process donations, gifts, receipts and acknowledgment letters

·       Interact withhomeownersandrenters, issue mortgage reminders, set up Reinstatement meetings

·       Interact with Trenton city officialsabouthomeowner taxesand water/sewerbills

·       Keep up with tax lien auctions and home foreclosure auctions through city officials and newspapers

·       Assist with answering the telephone and provide clerical and administrative support to management and or director as needed (requested), including Excel spreadsheets, Mail Merges in Word and QuickBooks

Desired Qualifications:

·       Associate's degree in accounting or business administration, or equivalent accounting experience

·       Knowledge of bookkeeping and generally accepted accounting principles. 

·       QuickBooks experience highly preferred as it relates to non-profit accounting procedures

Construction Manager Job Description

Contact Pearleen at 609-577-6814 for information

 

Father Brian McCormick, Martin House and BCHT Founder, Celebrates 50th Jubilee as a Priest

June 12, 2016 was a day of celebration for Fr. Brian McCormick and his family, friends, and so many people whose lives have been directly affected by his life and teachings in his chosen role as a priest.  Fr. Brian celebrated 50 years as a priest with a Jubilee celebration that included Mass at St. James the Less Church in Jamesburg, where he was a weekend helper during his 40+ years in Trenton, and a dinner at Pierre’s Restaurant of South Brunswick.

In 1970 the young Fr. Brian was assigned by Bishop Ahr to an experimental ministry in Trenton called Martin House, where he worked for 42 years. Fr. Brian’s ministry addressed poverty and racism. He served “hands on,” living among the very poor in a crime ridden area of Trenton.  Fr. Brian and his work are evidence that one person, with God’s grace, really can make a difference.

Under his direction, Martin House developed into a multi-faceted organization that worked to promote family living and values through low-income housing (Better Community Housing of Trenton, Inc. has built or rehabbed 167 houses for the very poor); emergency housing for homeless families (Doorway to Hope, Inc. has 17 family units); and education (Martin House Learning Center, now CYO East State Street Center, provides after-school and summer programs, sports, and a safe center for community gatherings).   

The 230 people who attended the Jubilee paid tribute to Fr. Brian and his works with speeches, a Papal Blessing signed by Pope Francis, and gifts, including a trip to Rome and Assisi in September. 

Lesley Lutkowski, a founding member of the Board of the Martin House Foundation, summed up the feelings of many by saying:

Father Brian achieved the impossible. I know of no other individual who has single-handedly accomplished what this man has. I watch the daily news, read articles about people getting awards, but none have accomplished as much as Father Brian and given so much to those less fortunate. It was his energy, his determination, his willingness to roll up his sleeves, but most importantly, it was his purity in faith. He believed in what he was doing.  [But I] want to also talk about what Father Brian gave to those of us who live beyond the inner city of Trenton.

Fr. Brian has taught us all the real meaning of giving – the gift of love, and most importantly, the gift of Faith. We are all so fortunate to have known Father Brian. He has taught us the true scriptures of everyday life and in my opinion, we are all benefactors of his love and faith. [Fr. Brian is like] Mother Teresa, who lived amongst the poor and held the dying when no one else would. That is how I view Father Brian and that is what my knowing him has taught me. When someone shows us the way as explicitly and selflessly as Father Brian has done, we learn that helping others is the greatest gift of life.

So my message to you, Father Brian, is, while you were administering to the poor, you were administering to us as well. We also were lifted up by you. We also renewed our own faith in our Lord and Savior. We saw first-hand what caring for others could really mean and feel like. That is your gift to us. You have touched so many more lives than you could ever have imagined and for that we will forever be so thankful.

In his “retirement” Fr. Brian continues to act as a volunteer advisor to both Better Community Housing and Doorway to Hope.

 

Bi-Monthly Community Meetings Spur Positive Action

 BCHT homeowners and other Wilbur area residents meet every other month to plan programs and events geared toward making Trenton a better place to live and work. They can design their own projects or join worthwhile projects initiated by other organizations. Projects include:

  • Resurrection Egg  Hunt at Greg Grant Park - Saturday March 26, 2016
  • National Night Out at Greg Grant Park - Tuesday August 2, 2016
  • Summer movie nights at the park, enabled by Princeton Area Community foundation and Greg Grant
  • Neighborhood cleanups
  • Garden projects that beautify the area 

Santander Grant for Rehabbing Homes

Last fall, Santander Bank, NA awarded BCHT a grant to help rehab two homes in our Wilbur area during 2016.  This is part of our ongoing work to bring quality housing to low-income families in Trenton.  Qualified applicants are put on a list to purchase a home as it becomes available. Applicants must do sweat equity work on homes and take classes on finances and home ownership.  Thank you, Santander, for helping us continue this important work.

 

2015

BCHT Homes Receive 2015 Phoenix Award

BCHT’s 20 homes on East State Street, along with Greg Grant Park, were the reason the city of Trenton was given the 2015 Phoenix Award. The homes and park are on three former industrial sites that were contaminated with toxic products. The award recognizes exemplary brownfield redevelopment and revitalization. Project Partners for this effort included:  Architects Michael Graves and THINKFORM’s Russell DiNardo, Better Community Housing of Trenton, Inc. (formerly Martin House); USEPA (Region 2); NJ Department of Community Affairs; NJDEP; Mercer County; Brownfield Redevelopment Solutions, Inc.; and members of the East Trenton Collaborative.    

BCHT Homes As Seen From Greg Grant Park

BCHT Homes As Seen From Greg Grant Park

 

What's Happening in 2015 at Better Community Housing, Doorway to Hope, and the Thrift Store

Wondering what direction we are taking now that Fr. Brian has retired? Click below to watch this informative video featuring Pearleen Waters of BCHT, Barbara Thompson of Doorway to Hope, and Vera Wertz of the Thrift Store.

Video produced by Sam Russell.  Some photos provided by Robert Salgado and others.

  

2015 National Night Out Promotes Police/Neighborhood Camaraderie

Making Neighborhoods a Safer, Better Place to Live

The weather was perfect on August 4, 2015 for the third National Night Out at Greg Grant Park.  Hundreds turned out to enjoy a variety of games, food, and activities. In the spirit of community, the event was jointly organized by Better Community Housing of Trenton, Inc. (BCHT), the Fr. Brian McCormick Homeowners Association, and the Congregation Masjidut-Taqua.  The CYO East State Street Center and the Wilbur Branch of Santander Bank also contributed. The city provided T-shirts, food, police and fire presence, and street barricades. Greg Grant set up an exciting exhibition basketball game featuring local teams. The East State Street sponsors organized the event, including games, special food, a water slide and bounce house, much of which was made possible through a grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation.

 

KidsFireTruck.jpg

 

PACF Supports Community Action and Events

Movies at the Park

The summer of 2015 saw kids and their families enjoying movies at Greg Grant Park.  The city of Trenton held Movies Under the Stars at several parks, and BCHT sponsored four movie nights thanks to a grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation, which allowed us to purchase a projector and sound system, as well as snacks.  Thank you PACF and Greg Grant for your support!

The picture shows some young movie goers rushing up to get a closer look at the screen.

 

Moms Healing Brunch Remembers Children Lost to Violence

Seeaflia Ellis sees the pain of her friends and neighbors who have suffered the unthinkable – losing a child to the violence that surrounds them in the city. With the help of BCHT using funds from PACF, Seeaflia organized a Healing Brunch for eight of these mothers and their families who have lost a child over the years. On a beautiful day in May, they were treated to a sumptuous buffet at the park on Walnut Ave. Blessings were asked, and mothers who felt so inclined told their stories. These moms and elder moms of the neighborhood were awarded memory plaques and flowers.

Movies15.jpg

Doorway to Hope Helps Ex-Prisoners and Their Families

Our sister program, Doorway to Hope (DTH) is branching out to aid those re-entering society after being released from prison.  Barbara Thompson and team, Michael Howard, Howard Thompson, and Cynthis Eutsey, are working to include ex-prisoners with families in DTH’s mission of “homelessness to self-sufficiency” by providing short-term housing and assistance in finding jobs.


Bi-Monthly Community Meetings Spur Positive Action

 BCHT homeowners and other Wilbur area residents meet every other month to plan programs and events geared toward making Trenton a better place to live and work. They can design their own projects or join worthwhile project initiated by other organizations. Projects include:

  • Resurrection Egg  Hunt at Greg Grant Park
  • National Night Out at Greg Grant Park
  • Summer movie nights at the park, enabled by Princeton Area Community foundation and Greg Grant
  • Neighborhood cleanups
  • Garden projects that beautify the area 


Garden Projects

The Isles Urban Gardens Program has enabled BCHT to complete several garden project.  So far BCHT has landscaped the area in front of our office, which was just a mass of weeds and dead bushes, as well as the yard of a BCHT home and neighborhood street areas .  Because BCHT is a member, Isles supplies plants and gardening tools. Thanks go to urban garden planners Jim Simon and Brandon Ritter of Isles, as well as Isles and BCHT volunteers pictured here: Doug, Annie, Faheema (of Masjidut-El Taqua), Cathy, and Linda.

 

 

 2nd Annual National Night Out at Greg Grant Park

BCHT and the Homeowners' Association of the Brian McCormick Court homes organized the East State Street edition of National Night Out on August 5, 2014.  With over 300 people attending, it was the largest event in the city.  Thank you to all who worked to make this happen and to all who joined us for food and fun.

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See "Gallery" Page for more 2014 Night Out