PLATTSBURGH - Brandon Noelting knows what it's like to be homeless. And, it's something he doesn't want anyone else to go through.
Noelting and his family - his wife and their three young children - were facing life on the street last year after they were forced to move out of substandard housing in the town of Dannemora.
"Our toilet was going to fall through the floor, the floor in the kitchen was bowing to the point when you walked on it you could feel it shaking, there was no insulation in some of the walls," recalled Noelting.
The Noeltings were put up in temporary housing at a hotel by the Department of Social Services, but after problems with management, Noelting said he and his family were forced to leave.
"We had nowhere to go," said Noelting.
That's when Noelting learned about Family Promise of Clinton County, a nonprofit organization which locates housing for families who have become homeless. The organization helped provide shelter for Noelting and his family for three months, until a permanent solution was found. Most of all, Noelting credited Family Promise director Maureen E. Bradish for her compassion and dedication to helping him and his family.
"My wife and I were both full-time college students. I was trying to find work and we were both trying to support our three kids. We had a lot on our plate at the time," said Noelting. "Maureen jumped at the chance to help us."
When he and his family left the program, Noelting was asked to stay involved in a different capacity - serving on Family Promise's board of directors.
"I jumped at the chance because, partly, I felt it was my way of giving back," he said. "Seeing the seedy underbelly of homelessness in Plattsburgh - people eating out of garbage cans and things like that - I was like, 'This is how I can do something about this.'"
Noelting brought enthusiasm and a fresh view of the plight of homelessness in Clinton County, said Bradish.
"I still hear on a regular basis that people don't think homelessness is a problem here," said Bradish. "There's especially a lot of young people who don't know this is a problem. What Brandon's trying to do is help us reach people his age."
One way Noelting is trying do that is by planning a concert at Coffee Camp Saturday, July 31. The show - which will so far feature the bands All the Rage, Crown of Lions, and the Irradiated Beef Project - is a means of building on past Family Promise fundraisers like performances by The Gibson Brothers and annual Carl King Memorial Golf Tournament.
"I wanted us to be able to reach the younger generation," said Noelting, who noted younger people might not necessarily be attracted to Family Promise's other fundraisers. "I just wanted to add to what [Family Promise] was doing."
"What Brandon's doing is great," said Bradish.
The July 31 concert will start at 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per person with all proceeds to go to Family Promise.