A Network Update:
On Friday, May 4, at Holyoke Community College, the Career Services Committee of the Western MA Network to End Homelessness hosted legislators and aides – Senator Jim Welch, Representative Goldstein-Rose, Representative Aaron Vega, and the offices of Senator Hinds, Senator Lesser and Representative Mark – to share information around the urgent need for more ESOL services in the service of access to employment and preventing and ending homelessness.
Special thanks to our Committee members who attended: Teri Anderson, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Pesha Black, Ludlow and Springfield Adult Education Centers (HCC), Ashley Brehm, Way Finders, Kermit Dunkelberg, Holyoke Community College (HCC), Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, David Gadaire, CareerPoint, Jeff Hayden, HCC, Leo Hwang, Greenfield Community College, Maegan Pedemonti, Way Finders. They each brought both perspective and depth to this presentation, making clear the intersection of access to ESOL, career centers, Secure Jobs and transportation.
We summarized our legislative asks in relation to these needs as follows:
- ABE/ESOL (line item 7035-0002): Please fund at the statewide ABE/ESOL statewide coalition’s request of $34.5 million to better meet the chronic shortage of language assistance services.
- One-Stop Career Centers (Line item 7003-0803): Please fund at the statewide workforce coalition’s request of $4.7 million to ensure these front-line services are available across our region.
- Secure Jobs (Line item 4400-1020): Please fund at the statewide Secure Jobs coalition’s request of $1 million to allow the program to create housing stability for homeless families through sustained employment.
- Regional Transit Authorities (Line item 1595-6370): Please fund at the statewide public transit coalition’s request of $88 million to preserve this lifeline of transportation to employment and education for those who have no alternative access.
We will continue to these conversations with our legislators through the budget process, especially as the Senate prepares to release its budget this coming week, and we will keep you posted.
Pamela Schwartz, Director
Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness