Category Archives: Press Coverage

Announcement of Citizen’s Bank-MHSA-Mental Health Association partnership targeting chronic homelessness in Springfield

March 17, 2011

Yesterday, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced new funding that will put the city one step closer to its goal of ending long-term homelessness. With an investment from the Citizens Bank Foundation, MHSA has pledged $50,000 to the Mental Health Association’s Regional Engagement and Assessment for the Chronic Homeless (REACH) II program, which provides housing and intensive support services for chronically homeless individuals.

“This new funding to support chronically homeless individuals in permanent housing is an incredible testament by Citizens Bank about their belief in the power of permanent supportive housing to end homelessness and reduce costs at the same time,” Mayor Sarno said. “We are grateful that Citizens, led by President Jerry Sargent, is the first corporate partner in this innovative initiative.”

Springfield is one of two cities in the Commonwealth to receive funding; the Citizens Bank Foundation awarded MHSA a $100,000 grant to target chronic homelessness in both Boston and Springfield. A press conference was held in Boston on March 1 to announce that funding.

The funding from Citizens will support tenants in the Mental Health Association’s (MHA) REACH II Housing First program. REACH II is an expansion of the original REACH Housing First pilot, which provides chronically homeless individuals with permanent housing, intensive case management services, and links to substance abuse, mental health, and other services.

“We are pleased to join Mayor Sarno, the Mental Health Association and the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in their coordinated efforts to reduce homelessness in Springfield,” said Jerry Sargent, president of Citizens Bank in Massachusetts. “This is an innovative model, providing much-needed support to a very vulnerable population, while also relieving some of the costs associated with care for these individuals. It’s a win-win.”

The press in Springfield turned out in force to cover the event. Visit the below links to listen to radio coverage, read articles and view news clips.

WAMC: Support announced for program targeting chronic homelessness

Springfield Republican:  Citizens Bank donates $50,000 to help combat homelessness in Springfield

CBS 3:  Springfield\’s quest to end homelessness

WWLP, Channel 22: Partnership brings funds for homelessness

Editorial Praise of the Network

The largest daily paper in Hampshire County, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, published an editorial on Tuesday, August 31, in response to the dismantling of a small ‘tent city’ in Northampton.  In the course of setting forth the challenge and possible solutions, it acknowledged the efforts of the Western Mass. Network:

A relatively new initiative, the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness, continues its effort to create more low-cost housing units. The group also works to coordinate services for the homeless and cut through the red tape that sometimes keeps people from tapping in to resources that will get them help. The homelessness network has the support of mayors and other civic leaders in the region and is partnered with key social service agencies.

Click here to read the whole editorial.  While the challenges continue to loom large, we can feel buoyed by our region’s growing recognition of the Network’s role in meeting them.   Hats off to all of us.

Western Mass press on release of Culhane’s paper on ending family homelessness in Massachusetts

The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation was in Springfield yesterday to spread the word about  Dennis Culhane’s recent white paper: Ending Family Homelessness in Massachusetts.  The event was held at HAP’s emergency family shelter, Prospect House, where families talked about the importance for them of housing to move toward achieving self-sufficiency.

The Republican / Dave Roback  Jada McKenzie Gamlin, 5, shares a story with her mom, Nichole Gamlin in the living room of the Prospect House in Springfield. 

The Republican reports:

An in-depth study of how Massachusetts handles homeless families concludes there are better ways to keep the families from long stays in hotels, which are harmful to the people and costly to the state.

“No one in the state, no one in the Legislature and no one in this city likes motels. Everybody believes these dollars could be used differently. The dilemma is, first we have to get out of the hotel business,” said Susanne Beaton, director of special initiatives for the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, which sponsored the study.

Here are links to coverage of the event:

The Republican:  Massachusetts homeless families study concludes long hotel stays harmful to people, costly to state

WFCR: Rethinking Family Homelessness (2010-05-20)

WGGB 40: Senate Budgets for Homeless