Contact:  Pamela Schwartz, Director of Regional Coordination


The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness (“Network”) awarded $899,870 in funds to prevent or end homelessness across the four counties in Western Massachusetts.

These funds will be used to implement innovative approaches to prevent family homelessness and to provide chronically homeless individuals support services to maintain new housing.  The Network, formed in December, 2008, as part of a statewide initiative to end homelessness, will increase coordination and collaboration of these innovative services with the ultimate goal of reducing the need for emergency assistance shelters.

“With over 460 families in our region living in shelter and roughly 200 chronically homeless individuals living on our streets, we know we must try new solutions,” said Dr. Evan Dobelle, Chair of the Network’s Leadership Council and President of Westfield State College.  “We are pleased to support these innovative efforts and look forward to sharing our results over the next year both regionally and statewide.”

The Network’s one-year awards, administered by the regional non-profit Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center, include the following:

For Family Services
HAPHousing, Inc: $279,888, serving Hampden and Hampshire Counties
Valley Opportunity Council: $60,000, serving Hampden County
New England Farm Workers’ Council: $50,750, serving Hampden County
Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority: $46,095, serving Franklin County
Community Action, $28,147, serving Hampshire and Franklin County
Berkshire Housing and Development Corporation: $71,190, serving Berkshire County

For Individual Services
Mental Health Association, $121,000, serving Springfield
Carson Center: $40,028, serving Westfield
ServiceNet: $115,186, serving Hampshire and Franklin Counties
Center for Human Development: $40,028, serving Amherst
Brien Center: $50,293, serving Berkshire County

Click here for a directory detailing each program’s award.

This project’s funding comes alongside significant federal funding awards across the region, both through the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program and the Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA) programs.  According to Pamela Schwartz, the Network’s regional coordinator, the Network’s priority is to ensure coordination across all funded programs to achieve the largest possible impact on reducing homelessness in the region.

The Network is funded by the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, as part of its 5-year strategic plan to end homelessness in the Commonwealth by 2013.  The plan is predicated on a nationally recognized model of “Housing First,” which has shown that providing a homeless family or individual with their own home first, in conjunction with necessary support services, significantly increases the likelihood of sustaining their housing over the long-term.


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