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Worcester Shelters Score $250,000 From State to Fight Homelessness

Saturday, August 25, 2012

 

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced $5.3 million in federal Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to tackle homelessness throughout Massachusetts on Thursday, including more than $250,000 for Worcester facilities and organizations.

The money will be used to bolster emergency shelters, rapid rehousing efforts and homelessness prevention programs in the Commonwealth.

Here in Worcester, the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance will receive $130,000 for its rapid rehousing operation, working with local landlords, realtors and developers to help area residents.

Both the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network and Friendly House Inc. received funding to the tune of $77,175 and $55,396 respectively for their shelter support services.

“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.”

The new funding initiative seems to be a step in the right direction after the revelation earlier this year that Massachusetts was on track to spend over $60 million putting homeless residents in hotels and motels throughout the state.

“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.”

Concerns over unequal funding for the state's homeless shelters were also been voiced this year.

According to a statement from Governor Deval Patrick's office, a full $2 million of the federal ESG funds will be designated for rapid rehousing efforts as part of a move away from a shelter response.

That program is estimated to move nearly 800 homeless out of shelters and into more permanent housing over the next 12 months.

The $1.7 million for shelter support will increase staff at 10 emergency shelters, add 22 additional shelter beds, substantially increase the number of community rooms for homeless families from two to 15 and fund 329 previously unfunded beds at shelters.

 

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