[FRAMINGHAM, MA, February 1, 2019] During an event this week at Framingham State University, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito highlighted a comprehensive plan to end youth homelessness in the Commonwealth, announced funding to local providers, including Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), and a new housing pilot to support homeless youth.
Joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Executive Director of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) Linn Torto, Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago and Framingham State President Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, the administration on Thursday outlined how the Commonwealth will help connect homeless youth with education, employment, and housing supports and services.
FBMS, a leading provider of services to prevent and end homelessness in Southern Massachusetts, was among the 10 community partners to receive grant funding. FBMS will receive $300,000 this year and will partner with the Old Colony YMCA to expand its services to help end homelessness among young adults.
Last year, FBMS served 145 young adults (ages 18-24) at its emergency shelters in Quincy and Brockton. The grant funding will allow FBMS to provide emergency housing for young adults, hire additional staff to support young adults, and provide flexible funding to help re-house young adults. Flexible funding can help young adults cover upfront housing costs, such as first and last month’s rent, and address other barriers to housing.
“We want to thank Governor Baker and his administration for this critical funding that will help our most vulnerable young adults,” said John Yazwinski, FBMS President & CEO, who attended Thursday’s event. “Young adults should not be worried about where they’re going to sleep at night. They should be thinking about where they’re going to attend college and planning for their future. This grant funding will help make that possible.”
“We’re excited to see funding targeted to this population,” said Vincent Marturano, President & CEO of Old Colony YMCA. “As a youth-serving organization we engage with countless young adults in the community every day, and too often we find that basic resources are lacking. This funding will help fill some of those gaps. Father Bill’s & MainSpring has always been a great partner, and we look forward to working together on this initiative.”
“Our Administration has taken a targeted approach to addressing homelessness across the Commonwealth over the last several years, and this pilot program serves as another important tool,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with our community colleges and state universities to implement this program to give students a stable place to live so they can thrive academically and have access to the necessary supports in their own communities that will help them continue their path to self-sufficiency.”
The Baker-Polito Administration has made a commitment to assisting the state’s most vulnerable populations, including homeless youth, families and individuals. Governor Baker convened the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) which serves as the body responsible for implementing the plan to prevent and end homelessness.
ICHH works on several initiatives increasing effectiveness and collaboration among state agencies and with community partners to ensure every person has a safe, affordable place to call home. Across the United States, there are an estimated 1.7 million – 4.2 million unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness. In Massachusetts, it is estimated that there are at least 1,800 young adults every year who experience homelessness. Among unaccompanied homeless youth, students who are enrolled in the state’s colleges and universities represent a population of unique interest and growing concern.
The 10 community partners will address youth and young adult homelessness in a variety of ways, targeted to meet the specific demographic and geographic needs of each region. Funds can be used for housing, transportation, education and case management support. Each region has developed a winter response for youth who are without housing during the cold months as well as specific strategies to address the unique needs of undocumented, unaccompanied youth.
The Baker-Polito Administration also announced today the Massachusetts Student Housing Security Pilot to provide dorm rooms to homeless students attending community college. The Pilot launched at the following four campus sites earlier this month in partnership with a local community colleges: Bridgewater State University & Massasoit Community Colleg; Framingham State University & MassBay Community College; Worcester State University & Quinsigamond Community College; and UMass Lowell & Middlesex Community College.
FBMS is collaborating with Bridgewater State University and Massasoit Community College to provide support services to the young adults enrolled in the pilot program.
Campuses will be reimbursed by the state for the cost of the dorm bed occupancy for an 18-month period, for the remainder of fiscal year 2019 through fiscal year 2020, including all summer and semester breaks. Campuses will cover the cost of providing meals and snacks for students, with support from local service providers where available.
To view the state’s full press release announcing its grant funding, click here.
About Father Bill’s & MainSpring
Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS) is the leading provider of services to prevent and end homelessness in Southern Massachusetts. The agency, founded in the early 1980s by a group of interfaith and community leaders, helps nearly 6,000 people annually who find themselves homeless, or at risk of homelessness, achieve more self-sufficiency through a range of services including homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, employment programs, and permanent supportive housing, FBMS, a proud partner of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency with administrative offices in Quincy and Brockton and program offices across the South Shore. For more information, visit www.helpfbms.org.