Exciting News on Ending Youth Homelessness!

Thrilling news to report: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the Western MA region over $4.3 million to end youth homelessness as part of its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project!  The Springfield/Hampden Continuum of Care (CoC) was awarded $2.4 million for Hampden County; the Three County CoC received $1.9 million for Franklin County.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone and especially to our Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee partners – Gerry McCafferty of the Springfield/Hampden CoC/City of Springfield and Lisa Goldsmith of Three County CoC/Community Action in particular –  who led the way on making this extraordinary investment possible. 

The grant lays out the next four months for planning time with youth and community partners to develop the plan to end youth homelessness. We will continue what is already well underway and plan with the promise of resources to make the plan happen.  How positively thrilling!

Yesterday, a press conference was held at Springfield City Hall.  You can see the coverage on MassLive and the Greenfield Recorder  and read more from the HUD announcement here.  Young leaders from both regions who participated in this grant planning were in the room for the press conference and received the kudos they richly deserved. We look forward to following their lead in the months and years ahead!

Congratulations once again.  A remarkable step forward for our entire community and for our young people and their futures most of all.

At the press conference at Springfield City Hall announcing the grant. At the podium: Clare Higgins, Executive Director, Community Action Pioneer Valley. From left: David Tille, HUD New England Regional Administrator, Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, Gerry McCafferty, Springfield Housing Director and Springfield/Hampden CoC Administrator and Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action Director of Youth Services.


New Resource Directory for Hampshire/Franklin/Quabbin!

Community Action Pioneer Valley is pleased to announce:

The Look4Help Public Resource Directory has LAUNCHED!

We want you to check it out and help us spread the word about it!

Please go to on your smart phone, tablet, or computer to check out this fabulous, free, easy-to-use source of information about MANY community resources in Franklin and Hampshire Counties, the North Quabbin Region, and surrounding areas. There’s a quick keyword search option, as well as an easy guided search through 15 Popular Categories including: Food, Housing, Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery, Health Care, Disability Services, Money, Transportation, Clothing, Diapers, and Household Goods, Legal Help, Employment and Job Training, Family and Children, Seniors, Adult Education, State Agencies.

Look4Help is immensely useful for service providers and for everyone in our community. It includes options to translate the pages into Spanish or Russian, as well as an easy way to increase or decrease text size and a full suite of accessibility functions through the UserWay button. 

And, once you’ve found information about one of the many resources listed, you can easily share the information by printing it out, making a PDF, or sharing a link to the resource listing. 

Another great feature of Look4Help is the “Add/Update Listing” tab at the top. We know that programs change, and that there are more programs and services out there that we’ve yet to include in Look4Help. The Add/Update Listing tab makes it easy for you to send us information about updates and/or suggest additional programs to be listed in Look4Help. We will be continuously updating Look4Help.

Thanks for spreading the word about Look4Help and for all that you do!

New MA Affordable Housing Report from the Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston just released a new report that underscores once again, this time with town-by-town data (and an interactive map!), the massive affordable housing crisis across the Commonwealth.

This is a great resource for talking with your local and state officials, bringing home the number of extremely low-income households in each community and comparing that to the number of affordable housing units. The report finds statewide that there is less than 1 affordable and available housing unit for every 2 extremely low-income households.

You can find your community here.

Career Services Resources Fair a big success!

Congratulations and thanks to the 18 resource providers and over 40 provider participants who joined together on Friday, February 15 to share and learn about resources to help create stable housing through stable employment.

Click here for the hand-out summarizing resources shared at the Fair and contact information.

Special thanks to Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke for being there and his steadfast support of our Network’s mission.

And thanks to MassHire Holyoke for their generous hosting of this event.

We look forward to sharing in this opportunity again as part of our larger annual Homelessness Resources Fair that will take place on Monday, June 10, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Holyoke Community College (more to come but please feel free to save the date now!).c

New data resource for Pioneer Valley; New England Fathering Conference – 3/13-15

New Pioneer Valley Data Website Available

On Thursday, the Community Foundation of Western MA joined the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to celebrate the launch of the new  Pioneer Valley Data website. Now local governments, businesses and nonprofits can quickly get answers to question such as “What’s the poverty rate in West Springfield?” 
The website is a project of the CFWM, MassMutual Foundation, Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, Beveridge Family Foundation, Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts and Franklin County Council of Governments. Read more coverage here

New England Fathering Conference – 3/13 -3/15

The 20th Annual New England Fathering Conference , March 13-15, Springfield Sheraton. See the conference brochure by clicking here, or go to where you can view the brochure, register for the conference, and book your discounted room. Be sure to register by January 31st, while early bird rates are in effect (only $250 for all three days),

New reports on homeless youth; elders

MA 2018 Youth Count Report
The MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness recently released the 2018 MA Youth Count Report. For the full report please click here, and for summary graphs and charts, go here.

Elder Homelessness Report

According to a new study, The Emerging Crisis of Aged Homelessness: Could Housing Solutions be Funded by Avoidance of Excess Shelter, Hospital and Nursing Home Costs, the population of individuals who are homeless and elderly is expected to nearly triple over
the next decade.

The multi-site study includes Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles County. For Boston, the report states that the number of homeless people age 55 and older will almost triple by 2030 (from 570 in 2017 to roughly 1560). The predicted spike is based on 30 years of existing census data. The report also looked at associated healthcare costs related to this cohort. “Caring for this elderly group in homelessness is going to cost about $5 billion a year – that’s just for their health care and shelter, not to house them,” said Dennis Culhane, the principal investigator of the study.

Workshop PowerPoints from 2018 Homelessness Resource Fair

On June 14, the Western MA Network to End Homelessness sponsored its 2nd annual Homelessness Resource Fair for providers.  The Springfield Republican gave it some nice coverage which you can read here!

The Fair included 8 workshops on various homelessness-related topics.  Many of the over 200 Fair attendees requested the PowerPoint presentations that were offered, which you can now find below.

DHCD HomeBASE Training
DHCD Emergency Assistance Training
Homelessness and Addiction (Opioid Epidemic)
Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers
Individual Chronic Homelessness
Youth/Young Adult Homelessness
Domestic Violence and Homelessness
Career Services

Special thanks to all the workshop presenters who made these presentations possible: Alvina Brevard and Amy Mullen, DHCD; Mollie Sullivan, Geraldine Kennedy and Hollie Garvey, Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless, Jane Edmonstone, Community Legal Aid, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet and Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless,/CSO, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Emily English, Gandara Center, Ann Lentini, Domus Inc, Jenny Davila, Center for Human Development, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, Pamela Wojtkowski, BerkshireWorks, Maegan Pedemonti, Way Finders.

We look forward to providing more these trainings over the course of the coming year, culminating in our 3rd annual Resource Fair (with more space!) next June.  Please stay tuned!