Exciting News on Ending Youth Homelessness!

Thrilling news to report: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the Western MA region over $4.3 million to end youth homelessness as part of its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project!  The Springfield/Hampden Continuum of Care (CoC) was awarded $2.4 million for Hampden County; the Three County CoC received $1.9 million for Franklin County.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone and especially to our Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee partners – Gerry McCafferty of the Springfield/Hampden CoC/City of Springfield and Lisa Goldsmith of Three County CoC/Community Action in particular –  who led the way on making this extraordinary investment possible. 

The grant lays out the next four months for planning time with youth and community partners to develop the plan to end youth homelessness. We will continue what is already well underway and plan with the promise of resources to make the plan happen.  How positively thrilling!

Yesterday, a press conference was held at Springfield City Hall.  You can see the coverage on MassLive and the Greenfield Recorder  and read more from the HUD announcement here.  Young leaders from both regions who participated in this grant planning were in the room for the press conference and received the kudos they richly deserved. We look forward to following their lead in the months and years ahead!

Congratulations once again.  A remarkable step forward for our entire community and for our young people and their futures most of all.

At the press conference at Springfield City Hall announcing the grant. At the podium: Clare Higgins, Executive Director, Community Action Pioneer Valley. From left: David Tille, HUD New England Regional Administrator, Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, Gerry McCafferty, Springfield Housing Director and Springfield/Hampden CoC Administrator and Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action Director of Youth Services.


150 Leaders Gathered to Combat Homelessness in Western Massachusetts

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 Western Massachusetts:

  • 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.”

With great sadness: State Representative Peter Kocot

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.

New Housing for Homeless Veterans in Chicopee

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.

EOHHS announces Consortium and Youth Services Funding Awards

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.

Lead Organizations Location Allocated Consortium Funds Allocated Youth  Services Funds
Catholic Social Services Fall River $100,000 $100,000
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Inc. Worcester $90,000 $150,,000
Community Action Greenfield $125,000 $150,000
City of Springfield Springfield $125,000 $150,000
Community Teamwork Lowell $100,000 $100,000
Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development Lynn $125,000 $150,000
South Middlesex Opportunity Council Framingham $100,000 $100,000
United Way of Mass Bay Boston $100,000 $100,000


MHSA honors Jerry Ray…Make plans to attend!

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!

2016 Honorees

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.

Buy Tickets Today!

About the Event

Funds raised through Home for Good: Solutions Start Here help revolutionize how we address homelessness in Massachusetts. With your support, we can continue working with our partners to help those experiencing homelessness move off the streets, out of shelters and into their own homes.

This event will be held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Boston, located in Downtown Crossing, and will feature an awards presentation with a cocktail reception serving hearty hors d’oeuvres.

Business attire.