Monthly Archives: November 2010

NAEH toolkit on ending family homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness just put out a toolkit on what they’re calling the Columbus Model.   NAEH blogs:

So here’s the thing: Columbus, OH is really good at ending homelessness.  Really, they’ve done all the right things: focused on prevention, implemented rapid re-housing techniques, encouraged excellent data collecting – all the things that make a program measurably successful.  They’re so good, in fact, that we published a community snapshot on their 46 percent decrease in homelessness a few years ago.  And they’re still at it!  With laser-focus on performance measurement and performance evaluation of both their community-wide homeless assistance system and their individual programs, Columbus has managed to really focus on improving assistance and reducing homelessness.  Lucky for you, we’ve distilled the lessons learned in this community and we’re sharing them with you so that you can implement them in yours!

I’m sure that there is plenty for us to learn from Columbus.  Take a look.

A hearty thanks to David Modzelewski!

David Modzelewski, a stalwart leader in the effort to end homelessness in Western Massachusetts, is retiring from the Department of Mental Health today.  His message to us all is copied below.  The good news is that while he is leaving DMH, he is not leaving the Network and will continue part-time with the Mental Health Association, including participation on our Leadership Council and as coordinator of the sub-regional REACH meetings.  Thank goodness!

Meanwhile, however, all of us in the Network want to take this opportunity to thank him for his years of service.  The difference he has made in so many people’s lives cannot be measured in words or numbers.  It surpasses them all.  Thank you, Dave, and we are so grateful we will see you soon!

A message from David:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

After several delays and ‘false starts’ (finishes) my tenure at the Department of Mental Health will ending with my retirement on November 30, 2010. I want to thank all of you for the dedication, support and leadership you have demonstrated over these many years in our combined efforts to end homelessness and to promote the right of safe and affordable housing for everyone. As I look back on nearly 40 years of housing and homelessness work, all of us have much to be proud of and, unfortunately still much to do. Clearly, we are on the right path.

Even as I bid adieu to the DMH I will continue to work on issues of homelessness and homelessness prevention part time with the Mental Health Association of Greater Springfield so I will continue to see many of you still.

Mr.Christopher Zabik has begun his work as the new DMH Housing Coordinator. He comes with an excellent housing and mental health background and will capably and seamlessly take over for me at the DMH.

Chris can be reached at (413) 587-6301 and by email at Christopher.Zabik@dmh.state.ma.us

Again, I thank all of you for your collaboration and your friendship over these many years.

David W. Modzelewski

Congratulations to Friends of the Homeless!

In case you missed it last Friday, the Friends of the Homeless celebrated the grand opening of its long-planned Resource Center.  As the  Springfield Republican reported:

City and state officials, business leaders, and homeless advocates gathered Friday to celebrate the completion of a $12.5 million homeless resource center on Worthington Street, seen by some as a dream come true after five years of planning and fund raising.

Those praising the new resource center said it fits in with the city’s 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness by providing improved housing, emergency shelter space, and one-stop support services for those in need. The center is operated by Friends of the Homeless, a private, nonprofit organization.

The project began last fall with construction of a new building and renovation to the existing building on Worthington Street with public and private funding.

Juan Machicote, one of the men and women being served at the center, said the renovations make it much brighter and nicer.

“I am grateful to a lot of people here,” Machicote said, during the celebration ceremony. “When I came here, I didn’t have nothing. I was a wreck. Now I care for everybody.”

Machicote, who has a single-room apartment at Friends of the Homeless, has an 11-year-old son who does not live with him.

“I want him to be proud,” Machicote said.

The new building includes 32 efficiency apartments for the chronically homeless, a medical and dental clinic, a kitchen that serves up to 500 meals a day, a resource center to help them access services and to find permanent housing, and a new women’s shelter. The adjacent men’s shelter at 769 Worthington St., was renovated along with the kitchens and bathrooms of the Worthington House, a 60-room rental unit also operated by Friends of the Homeless.

“We are thrilled to get to this point in our effort to end homelessness,” said William J. Miller, executive director of Friends of the Homeless. “The work continues. We help people help themselves.”

Doreen T. Fadus, board chairwoman for Friends, said the center is not “a warehouse” for the homeless but links them with housing, job search assistance, and medical and mental health needs.

Geraldine McCafferty, the city’s director of housing, said that just over five years ago, Springfield was the site of a tent city and overflowing shelters.

The city in its wisdom adopted a better approach through a collaboration of government, business people, faith groups, community activists and others, McCafferty said. That approach includes efforts to re-house the homeless and to intervene as soon as people become homeless, she said.

“What I see are hope and promise,” said Peter F. Straley, president and chief executive officer of Health New England, who was co-chairman of the capital fund-raising committee. His co-chairman, Robert J. Schwarz, executive vice-president of Peter Pan Bus Lines, said the new center is “a very wonderful accomplishment.”

Congratulations and thank you, Friends of the Homeless!