This post is one big shout-out to the amazing unity demonstrated at last Friday’s 6th Annual Gathering of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. We showed up, over 250 of us! Dozens and dozens of our Network partners who do the work every day, our legislators who lead and support us, our mayors and city and town staff who stand on the front lines for our communities, our state agency partners who problem solve with us. We made clear we know what it takes to prevent and end homelessness in Western Massachusetts.
And we know we have hundreds more of you out there. The good news is that you can still collect the energy and the information in a number of ways: Click HERE for the video of the event; and HERE for the Network presentation summarizing the latest data on homelessness in the region and our recommended solutions.
If you want to read the front page news coverage across the region or watch or listen to it, you can check it all out here:
Finally, a big thanks to our presenters for the day (in order of appearance):
- Mayor Joshua Garcia, City of Holyoke
- Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
- Marisa Perez, Program Director, ServiceNet; Assistant Director, Center for Human Development
- Gerry McCafferty, Director, Springfield-Hampden Continuum of Care/Office of Housing, City of Springfield
- Keleigh Pereira, Director, Three County Continuum of Care, Community Action Pioneer Valley
- Rose Webster-Smith, Executive Director, Springfield No One Leaves
- State Representative James Arciero, Chair, Joint Committee on Housing
- State Senator John Keenan, Chair, Joint Committee on Housing
- Jeff Olivet, Executive Director, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Keith Fairey, President and CEO, Way Finders
And of course ongoing thanks to our Western Massachusetts legislative delegation who came out in force.
We know we can only accomplish what we must accomplish with every single sector of our communities engaged and determined. Last Friday reflected the depth and breadth of that connection, strength and commitment. We have got what it takes to prevent and end homelessness.
Onward to the next phase of the state budget and the continuing push for the legislative wins. The opportunity is now!