Category Archives: Media


Media on Ending Homelessness Event – 11/16/18

At our regional gathering on Friday, November 16, the Network released a report on Homelessness in Western Massachusetts : The Numbers, The Solutions, The Partnerships.  

Over 150 leaders attended, including our incoming and current state legislators, where we shared concrete to-do actions on both a community and statewide level.  To-do actions are outlined in the report and in more detail for legislators in our Budget and Policy Recommendations.

We are so pleased that the public was able to “enter the room” though extensive and front page media coverage across each county, including:

Springfield Republican 
Berkshire Eagle (Spotlight Investigation) and “by the numbers” breakdown here
Daily Hampshire Gazette and Greenfield Recorder (same article shared in each publication)
WAMC interview
Channel 22

We look forward to continuing the work together!

Powerful piece on poverty, employment and homelessness

Matthew Desmond, author of the widely acclaimed book Evicted, has just authored an important article that appears in the New York Times titled: Americans Want to Believe Jobs are the Solution to Poverty. They’re not.  While the story is based in New Jersey, it applies here in Massachusetts and across the country.  And it captures with an extraordinary combination of data and heart the monumental challenge and the system change work we need to do to meet it.

Let’s do a Network read and bring the findings and analysis and solutions into the work that lies ahead.

Springfield Republican Reports on Individual Shelter Funding Needs

The Springfield Republican published a comprehensive piece on state funding needs for individual emergency shelters in Western MA, including a well-documented visit by Western MA legislators to Friends of the Homeless shelter in Springfield.  Legislators expressed their support for the Network’s FY17 budget priority to address the funding gap for Western MA shelters.  As reported in the Republican:

State Sen. James Welch, D-West Springfield, chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said he believes western Massachusetts lawmakers will support a request for more money for area shelters. Although he does not know exactly what form that request would take, he said he agrees with the shelter advocates that raising the minimum bed rate “is certainly fair.”

Welch said it is problematic that some Boston area shelters get more money to provide the same services as shelters elsewhere.

“It’s really a regional equity issue as much as anything,” Welch said. “A human being is a human being, whether they’re homeless in Springfield or they’re homeless in Boston.”

Read more here.

And Commonwealth Magazine and The Springfield Republican also just published this op-ed co-written by Bill Miller on the issue.  Read it here.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Editorializes on Network Progress

The Daily Hampshire Gazette published an editorial in response to our Progress Report event on March 4 at Holyoke Community College.   It reported on the progress itself and in so doing incorporated our Opening Doors Plan and Housing First framework, the power of our collaboration and partnerships, and our inspiration and determination all at once.

Don’t miss this one. You earned it!

Click here or read below for easy access. Congratulations again and thank you, Daily Hampshire Gazette!

Editorial: Daily Hampshire Gazette, March 7, 2016

WMass network logs notable progress in fight against homelessness

When the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness called a meeting to report on its progress, it seemed likely good news was in the offing. And sure enough, the four-county collaboration was able to say Friday it is making headway on ambitious goals it set last June.

Those goals aren’t in some far-off, fuzzy future. The network, led by Pamela Schwartz of Northampton, is trying to end veteran homelessness this year. It wants to eradicate chronic homelessness in western Massachusetts a year later and put a halt to family and youth homelessness by 2020.

How is it doing? The numbers laid out Friday, in a event attended by 130 people at Holyoke Community College, were encouraging:

  • A 27 percent drop since June in the numbers of veterans on the streets or in emergency shelters. The network and its many allies found permanent housing for 357 homeless or at-risk veterans, established a system to connect vets to services and found landlords willing to rent to vets. On the horizon: 106 new units of housing with built-in supports for veterans.
  • Since last year, the network has found permanent housing for 108 chronically homeless people. Eleven families found homes, capping a staggering 30 years for these people of going without reliable shelter of their own. And around the edges, the network worked with hospital emergency departments, police and human services staff to get help to people on the streets.
  • In one of its most impressive achievements, the network said it saw a drop in the number of families living in motels — from 284 to 49. More than a third of all families in the region seeking shelter were able to find their own housing through new resources — a key one being a state program known as HomeBASE assistance. In all, 647 families moved into permanent housing.

It wasn’t just numbers talking Friday. Three formerly homeless people — Jerome Douchette of Easthampton, Gloria Torres of Holyoke and Michael LaMothe of Westfield — explained how they overcame their housing problems by tapping into the resources that lie at the heart of the network’s operating manual.

A simple concept guides all this. The solution to homelessness is housing. Yes, that sounds obvious, but for years, governments and social-service agencies offered help around the margins that failed to get people without shelter what they need: Housing first.

That’s the strategy set out by the national Opening Doors Plan developed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Ending Homelessness. For more information on the network, visit

To be sure, people in hard times will always find themselves homeless. The goal, says Schwarz, is to make this “rare, brief and non-recurring.”

Chrystal Kornegay, the undersecretary of the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said Friday that the progress described Friday owes to “exceptional work of our local partners in western Massachusetts.”

A fact sheet handed out Friday had to narrow the margins to fit all the names of mission partners in one massive paragraph. The effort has enlisted hundreds of people in dozens of public and private groups up and down the Valley and west into the Berkshires. They are working to disprove the notion that homelessness is just a fact of life for people who stumble or suffer one kind of misfortune or another.

Their radical idea is that homelessness can be conquered. They are well on their way to showing that homelessness isn’t a sad and intractable problem. It is sad, but it can be solved.

To help the network get the rest of the way, the Legislature needs to fund the basic tools that crisis workers use to help families find shelter. The network’s requests are smart and reasonable. Area lawmakers — many of whom came Friday to applaud the progress — must help make sure the state’s next budget gives the network what it needs.


Network Legislative Gathering Gets Advance Media

In yesterday’s Springfield Republican and Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Network’s upcoming Legislative Gathering on March 4 received advance press.  As the Gazette reported:

This Friday, the region’s main task force on homelessness will outline its progress over the last year. The event, which starts at 10:30 a.m. at Holyoke Community College, will offer briefings by those who run the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. Mayors and more than a dozen state lawmakers will be on hand, along with human services officials and people who have been homeless. The network set ambitious goals last June and promises to reveal how far it has come.

The Gazette editorial also reported on Amherst Community Connections’ new One-Stop Resource Center and celebrated Habitat for Humanity’s new housing in Easthampton.

The Springfield Republican reported on the Network’s press advisory in full.

We look forward to seeing many of you there!


Springfield Republican Article on Individual Shelter Funding

On Friday, May 15, The Springfield Republican ran a front page article on the statewide disparities in funding rates for individual emergency shelters.  This issue drives The Network’s FY16 budget advocacy to increase the average bed rate to $32/night statewide or alternatively provide a $350,000 earmark to Friends of the Homeless in Springfield to prevent significant cuts in services.  The Republican reporter, Shira Schoenberg, does an excellent job laying out the current situation and the consequences.

Friends of the Homeless runs an overnight shelter for homeless individuals in Springfield and has case managers available during the day. Last year, it got paid $25 per bed per day from a state contract, according to state data. Friends of the Homeless Executive Director Bill Miller said the shelter got an extra $7 per bed from a budget earmark, but it is still struggling to pay basic bills.

Shelters run by ServiceNet in Northampton, Greenfield and Pittsfield got $28 per bed per day.

At the same time, the Pine Street Inn in Boston had state contracts that paid up to $61 per bed per day. A handful of other shelters have contracts paying more than $40.

“There’s no formula,” Miller said. “It is a significant disadvantage to Springfield to be trying to provide adequate services while receiving among the lowest bed rates in the commonwealth.”

Read more here.