Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Department of Housing and Community Development
Contact: Mary-Leah Assad – 617-573-1102
$5.3 million for emergency shelter, rehousing and prevention programs
BOSTON – Thursday, August 23, 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) today announced $5.3 million in federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds to combat homelessness in the Commonwealth. The funds will support emergency shelters, rapid rehousing for individuals and homelessness prevention programs for families.
“As we continue to implement a housing first model, we know that providing the right resources at the right time helps individuals and families achieve housing sustainability,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. “By partnering with the Obama Administration and our Congressional delegation, we are aggressively working towards ending homelessness and ensuring individuals and families most in need receive emergency support and assistance.”
“We thank the Obama Administration and our Congressional delegation for making these funds available,” said DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “I look forward to working with our partners across the Commonwealth to put this new resource to good use and help our most vulnerable individuals and families get back on their feet.”
Funding for homeless prevention activities will help an estimated 700 extremely low-income families and individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless achieve housing stability and avoid shelter in the first place.
“We applaud the continuing commitment of both federal and state government to make sure we have the resources to help eliminate homelessness throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Jim Cuddy, Executive Director of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council. “Shelters should serve only as a very last resort in meeting the housing needs of families and individuals. With these federal dollars, we will be able to ensure that many hundreds of people will have a safe and decent place to call home.”
Furthering the Patrick-Murray Administration’s effort to move toward a housing strategy and away from a shelter response, $2 million of the ESG funds will support rapid rehousing for homeless individuals. The program will move an estimated 792 homeless individuals from emergency shelter to housing this fiscal year.
“Rapid rehousing strategies are a critical part of ending homelessness in Massachusetts,” said Joe Finn, President and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance. “By moving individuals quickly from shelters and the streets into housing, these targeted, short-term funds will enable the Commonwealth to decrease its reliance on emergency resources and focus on housing solutions to homelessness.”
More than $1.7 million in shelter support funds will decrease individual shelter stays by increasing housing stabilization staff in 10 emergency shelters, creating 22 additional shelter beds, funding 329 previously unfunded beds and increasing the number of community rooms for homeless families from two to 15.
“Father Bill’s and MainSpring believes we need to convert our emergency shelter system to a triage and assessment response that assists families and individuals out of homelessness as soon as possible. We thank the Patrick-Murray Administration for their continued commitment to end homelessness and not just manage it,” said John Yazwinski, President & CEO, Father Bill’s and MainSpring. “The Department of Housing and Community Development is looking for solution-oriented models when addressing homelessness and we thank them for supporting this new triage model, while still making sure we have a safety net in our communities.”
ESG is an annual federal grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that was increased under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009. The HEARTH Act represents a national shift in focus away from emergency shelters and toward stable, permanent housing that mirrors the Commonwealth’s ongoing housing first effort.