Over the course of the summer and fall, thanks in part to funding from  One Family Inc in partnership with the Episcopal City Mission and the Fireman Charitable Foundation, outreach occurred to faith-based communities across the four counties to further engage them in the effort to end homelessness.  Updates by county include:

Hampden County

On July 29, the faith community came together for a meeting of over 100 religious leaders at the Basketball Hall of Fame to learn about the homelessness prevention work in Hampden County in general and specifically to engage them in Project Homeless Connect.  That outreach is about to come to fruition this Tuesday, Sept. 29, when over 350 volunteers from the faith communities across Hampden County participate in Project Homeless Connect at the Mass Mutual Center, 8 am to 2 pm.  This will be a great event for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness to access multiple services in one place on one day.  Please spread the word!

Hampshire County

A diverse group of Hampshire County religious leaders just met on September 23 to learn about the Network and share ideas about how to get further involved.  Everyone agreed that next steps include connecting with Hampshire County’s faith-based group, Friends for the Homeless, which has led the effort to provide shelter and other services to homeless individuals across the county.  We will pursue together the goal of incorporating  the “Housing First” model in their important work.

Franklin County

On August 5, Father Stan Aksamit, a member of the Network’s Leadership Council,  hosted a meeting of faith leaders and volunteers to discuss their efforts around the issue of homelessness.  Pastor Greg Dyson from Springfield came to the meeting and shared his experiences with Project Homeless Connect.  Right now, the group is focused on providing overflow shelter for the winter months, and looks forward to convening a larger forum on ending homelessness in Franklin County in the coming months.  The Network will provide assistance as the planning unfolds.

Berkshire County

On September 3, Reverend Joel Huntington hosted a meeting of faith leaders and volunteers to learn about the Network.  They agreed to visit Project Homeless Connect to learn directly about that event and see if and how it could serve as a model for a similar event in Berkshire County.  They also agreed to convene a forum in the next couple of months on the issue of homelessness, involving the Network’s Berkshire County members in the planning and implementation.

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