Over 150 leaders from across the four Western Massachusetts counties came together today to combat homelessness in the region and to learn from a newly released report by the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.
In a packed room at GreenfieldCommunity College, a dozen state legislators, including the five just elected from the Upper Pioneer Valley, two sheriffs, 7 mayors, 2 town administrators, 8housing authorities, state agency leaders, every community college, career center and major hospital in each county, and over 100 others across every sector showed up to find out what it will take to prevent and end homelessness inWestern Massachusetts.
“Today our region made an extraordinary demonstration of its commitment to end homelessness,” said Pamela Schwartz, Director of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. “And today our Network shared some vital tools that will bring us all closer to making thatgoal a reality.”
The report found that since 2012 in
- Chronic homelessness declined 38 per cent
- Veteran homelessness declined 24 per cent
- Family homelessness remained level
Read more in the report here.
Today was a big step forward to help us do even better tomorrow. See here for “What you can do next.”
I am so terribly sorry to share the news that First Hampshire District’s State Representative Peter Kocot died yesterday after an illness. The article in today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette captures the statewide sentiment about this man of tremendous conviction, intelligence and passion to serve.
Representative Kocot’s commitment to social and economic justice also specifically included his commitment to end homelessness. He was an incredible champion of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness as the lead sponsor of the Network’s earmark. And that leadership and support extended to the broad array of regional and statewide efforts to prevent and end homelessness across the Commonwealth.
Governor Baker has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff until the day of interment in honor of Representative Peter Kocot.
He will be sorely missed.
Rebecca Muller, a Network Leadership Council member, asked to post this article from Nautilus Magazine, Why Poverty is Like a Disease.” Food for thought and discussion as we go forth in this work.
The Friends of the Homeless recently announced its merger with Clinical & Support Options (CSO). You can read more about it here.
News from Collin Finn at Soldier On:
Soldier On, Inc. has exciting news regarding our Chapin School project. The Commonwealth of MA had committed rental subsidies for all 43 units ! If you know of a veteran in need of affordable housing, we strongly encourage you to have them complete the attached application.
The Chapin School Veterans project, located at 40 Meadow St, Chicopee, will provide safe, affordable housing for 43 Veterans. The units are all one-bedroom units. 3 units are accessible and 1 unit is adapted for persons who require sensory accommodations.
Anticipated occupancy is June 1, 2016. As the first round of residents will be selected by a lottery, we must have completed applications returned to Soldier On, Inc. by April 25th 2016.
Please feel free to copy and distribute to any potential applicants. Additional information regarding the project can be obtained by calling me at 413-387-3639.
And from Gerry McCafferty: Please note that these units are available to all veterans, regardless of eligibility for Veterans Health Services.
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
The Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA) invites you to our 13th Annual Spring Fundraising Event, Home for Good: Solutions Start Here.
Thursday, May 12, 2016, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Boston
One Avenue de Lafayette, Boston
Join us as we celebrate our honorees’ outstanding contributions to ending homelessness!
Jerry Ray of Mental Health Association, Inc.
for his commitment to ending homelessness in the Commonwealth through permanent supportive housing
Santander Bank, N.A.
for partnering with and investing in social service organizations to bring innovative principles to the nonprofit sector
Goulston & Storrs
for their dedication to making a difference through pro bono legal work and public service
Tickets and Sponsorships
Show your support for our honorees’ efforts to end homelessness by purchasing your ticket or becoming a sponsor today! For more information about sponsorship levels, click here.
Please see the press release below from the USDA announcing Massachusetts’ selection to participate in employment and training program for SNAP recipients. This additional job development resource is also great news for homelessness prevention efforts.
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 10 states have been selected to take part in SNAP to Skills, a first-of-its-kind, peer-to-peer effort to help state agencies design improved employment and training programs for adults participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to help them find employment and ultimately move off the SNAP program.
“Fortunately, the economy is improving in most areas of the country, but it is still very challenging for people with limited education or more basic job skills to secure full time work and better paying jobs,” said Vilsack. “Helping SNAP recipients move off the program due to higher job earnings produces a double win for the individual household and for the economy as a whole.”
States selected for SNAP to Skills include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee. In October 2015, USDA announced that the Seattle Jobs Initiative would create an intensive technical assistance program to help states to build better, stronger Employment and Training (E&T) programs. These 10 states were chosen to participate based on their existing level of commitment and interest in expanding the SNAP E&T program, their ability to build effective partnerships with local training providers, and the availability of strong, job-driven workforce development programs in the state. The project will last two years, ending in September 2017.
E&T programs may include job search training, education activities (including basic skills training, English language learning, vocational training, postsecondary education), self-employment or on-the-job training, and job retention services.