A Community Forum on Homelessness in Amherst
Homelessness continues to be a very significant concern in Amherst. Recent news reports, as well as informal conversations, indicate that individuals who are homeless have difficulty finding a safe and appropriate place to be at night now that Craig’s Place has closed. Furthermore, they experience other difficulties during the day, as well. While there is discussion among small groups and among individuals, there is no place to discuss what persons who are homeless need and how best to assure that appropriate resources are available within our community.
In collaboration with the Town of Amherst and the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, the Amherst Housing and Sheltering Committee is sponsoring a community forum on homelessness. Our goals are to develop a broadly shared understanding of the scope of homelessness in our community right now and then develop a sound and coordinated strategy on how to address current issues. Part of this discussion includes how Amherst fits into the region and neighboring communities to better understand context and available resources and opportunities.
Thursday, July 14, 6:45-9 P.M.
Town Room, Amherst Town Hall
Homelessness Forum will be held on Thursday, July 14, from 6:45-9 P.M. in the Town Room of Amherst Town Hall. Our plan is to divide the available time into two parts:
- Part 1: Review and discussion of issues and concerns regarding homelessness in Amherst and currently available services and supports, and including; the services and supports that are currently available to them, and
- Part 2: Discussion of what we should do as a community to address the issues and problems raised in the first part.
We invite the perspectives of individuals who are homeless, as well as the larger Amherst community.
The sponsors wish to encourage the broadest possible participation in this Forum on Homelessness in Amherst. This invitation was also sent to other individuals and organizations in Amherst. However, we probably did not include everyone we should have. So please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested, even if that results in some duplication. Please click here for a flyer for distribution. Thank you for your assistance.
Please respond to John Hornik (firstname.lastname@example.org) at your earliest convenience.
Nancy Gregg and John Hornik
For the Amherst Housing and Sheltering Committee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: EOHHS Announces $1.9 Million in Statewide Grants to Address Housing Instability
BOSTON – The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announced today it awarded $865,000 in funding to create eight regional consortiums to provide crisis interventions services to families and individuals facing acute housing instability across the Commonwealth. An additional $1 million will be allocated to develop and implement specialized services for youth under the age of 24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“Over the last year, the Baker-Polito Administration has made a commitment to assisting our most vulnerable populations, including homeless families and individuals,” said Secretary Sudders. “We are dedicated to reducing the surging number of families and unaccompanied youth, who are in crisis and seek shelter. Our grant allows us to provide a coordinated response to stabilize housing and reduce homelessness in the Commonwealth.”
Under this grant, the eight chosen lead organizations are tasked with creating and assembling the regional Consortiums, which will develop a coordinated entry system, provide flexible funding for prevention and diversion services, and ensure the Commonwealth’s vulnerable homeless populations have timely and appropriate access to intervention within their local communities. Each regional consortium is required to have representation from housing organizations, service agencies, and other entities providing support to recent and chronic homeless individuals, with a special emphasis on homeless youth.
“Our comprehensive Request for Response process identified committed organizations prepared to lead and address the issue of homelessness,” said Linn Torto, Executive Director of Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH). “They are qualified to administer good supports within their regions. We are very pleased with the number of solid proposals received, and have recommended moving forward with all the respondents to broaden our reach of services.”
In December 2015, the EOHHS issued a Request for Responses (RFR) soliciting proposals from community-based organizations to establish local Consortiums. EOHHS has awarded contracts to eight organizations that collectively provide statewide coverage, representing urban, rural and suburban communities. In addition, each response included a request for funding to address the unique needs of you experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in their region.
||Allocated Consortium Funds
||Allocated Youth Services Funds
|Catholic Social Services
|Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Inc.
|City of Springfield
|Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development
|South Middlesex Opportunity Council
|United Way of Mass Bay
This week, the Western region submitted applications in response to the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ RFR to “Establish Local Consortiums to Provide Services to those Facing Acute Housing Instability.”
The Western MA Network, the Hampden County and Three County CoC closely collaborated to submit two applications, one from the City of Springfield (on behalf of the Hampden County CoC) and the other from Community Action! (in conjunction with the Three County CoC). This decision was based on an in-depth analysis of how best to meet the requirements of a coordinated entry system. The geographical and demographic expanse of the region requires two separate but well-connected systems to achieve the goal of “no wrong door” and most immediately achieve housing stability.
As a testimony to this collaboration, each applicant attached over 70 support letters, half of which were jointly addressed to both applicants. From 15 Western MA state legislators spanning all four counties, to state agencies, businesses, hospitals, foundations and dozens of housing and other support service providers, our Western MA community echoed the strength of our shared mission and the truth of what it will take to realize it. The Network is proud to provide the regional connector to the vision we all created.
This process alone is cause for celebration. We just got that much closer to ensuring a path to stable housing for the people of Western Massachusetts.
Congratulations to us all!
Thanks to many of you (34% response rate!) who responded to the survey the Network issued to obtain your feedback on the performance and direction of the Western MA Network to End Homelessness. The Network Leadership Council and Steering Committee will use the results to inform our work moving forward. Thank you for your time and commitment!
Click here to see a summary of the Network results. Feel free to contact Network Coordinator Pamela Schwartz at email@example.com with any questions.