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NEW: Rep. O’Day Honored for Fight Against Homelessness

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

 

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA) will co-host a gathering at 11:00a.m. Wednesday, October 24th to honor State Representative James O’Day (D-West Boylston) for his tireless work on behalf of families with children, youth, and adults who are experiencing homelessness.

O'Day's main contributions for which he is being honored have to do with helping homeless children and homeless families.

Most notably, during the 2011-2012 legislative session, Representative O’Day was lead sponsor of, “An Act Providing Housing and Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth." Thanks to this bill and O'Day's leadership, this year’s state budget calls on the Patrick Administration and the Legislature to establish a special commission focused on better connecting unaccompanied youth ages 22 and younger who are experiencing homelessness with housing and needed services.

“Representative O’Day has been a true champion for people experiencing homelessness. We are tremendously grateful for his vision, leadership, and commitment. Most notably, working with his colleagues and legislative leaders, Representative O’Day was able to usher through budget language this year that will lead to increased access to housing and services for vulnerable youth throughout the state,” remarks Robyn Frost, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

The Representative was also a main backer of legislation to ensure that children experiencing homelessness are provided with transportation to maintain educational continuity; in addition, he played a key role in campaigns to protect access to emergency shelter for families with children experiencing homelessness, and to increase state funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition homelessness prevention program.

In addition, Representative O’Day was the lead sponsor of a campaign to support a statewide network of furniture banks to help families and individuals exiting from homelessness into housing make their new apartments feel like home.

Grace Carmark, Executive Director of the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, said: “CMHA is honored to work with Representative Jim O'Day and is truly inspired by his tireless leadership in the Greater Worcester community on issues of access to affordable housing and homelessness prevention. Representative O'Day has led the charge on Beacon Hill over the last two years to address the needs of homeless youth and to support individuals and families moving out of shelter to make their new house a home through his unwavering support of furniture bank programs like the Donations Clearinghouse."

Of the upcoming award ceremony, Representative O’Day said: "I am incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized for my work and advocacy on behalf of families and individuals who are homeless in both my district and the Commonwealth in general. Since being elected Representative of the 14th Worcester District, I have always made it a cornerstone of my work to stand up for the less fortunate. Families and individuals who have fallen on hard times should be able to rely on their community to put a roof over their head. Homelessness leads to so many other issues that could be avoided if adequate housing and shelter are provided. This year I was proud to be the lead sponsor of a legislation that addresses the unaccompanied homeless youth population here in Worcester and across the Bay State. However my advocacy for those and those living in poverty will not stop simple because one goal was reached. I look forward to working with the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless in the upcoming 188th session, should I have the privilege of being re-elected to serve the people of the 14th Worcester District for another two years." 

“Building upon the work of Representative O’Day, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless looks forward to the start of the new legislative session when we will continue to raise awareness about unaccompanied youth homelessness and increase momentum for new state investments in solution-focused housing and support services for unaccompanied youth, families with children, and single adults who are experiencing homelessness,” said Kelly Turley, Director of Legislative Advocacy at the Coalition.

 

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