Homelessness Prevention Initiative moves into year two with $1 million in additional funding for 18 programs

January 5, 2005

Boston and Waltham -- The Boston Foundation, Tufts Health Plan and the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation have jointly announced their second year of funding the Homelessness Prevention Initiative, an effort launched in December 2003 to prevent homelessness among families and individuals in Massachusetts.

A second grant of one million dollars, an amount equal to the first year’s allocation, will be distributed among 18 organizations selected for their focus on individuals and families at significant risk of becoming homeless. The organizations are located across Massachusetts, and their programs target those who need direct assistance and stabilization. The programs offer discharge planning and placement for those being released from care and custody, supportive housing services, mental health support, and substance abuse counseling.

Results from the first-year efforts showed great promise. Rosie’s Place, a Boston agency founded three decades ago to secure opportunity, security and dignity for women on the edge of survival, called year one of the Initiative a “tremendous success.”

Sue Marsh, executive director of Rosie’s Place, said “our greatest accomplishment is that as of December 8, 2004, 66 of 67 women who received initial visits through the program were still housed – a success rate of 96 percent.” Besides achieving that success rate, Rosie’s Place exceeded its first-year goal of providing homelessness prevention services for 60 women by 10 percent. 

One of the Initiative’s goals is to bring together organizations that provide a range of programs to share best practices and recommendations, with the goal to advance knowledge of what works in the areas of prevention, providing outcome data, and providing proven models on how to prevent homelessness.

“We are delighted to provide a second year of support to the Homelessness Prevention Initiative, which has already made significant progress toward eliminating the holes in the safety net designed to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and chief executive officer of The Boston Foundation. “Based on a thorough analysis of shared data and best practices, the participants in this Initiative have identified a spectrum of services that provide both short and long-term preventions for homelessness. Today, with the state’s housing costs nearly the highest in the nation, we must work together closely and leverage our resources to develop a comprehensive solution to this devastating problem."

Nancy Leaming, president and chief executive officer at Tufts Health Plan, said “The power of the Homelessness Prevention Initiative comes from collaboration. By working together, the funding agencies and grant recipients have created a comprehensive suite of programs to prevent and resolve homelessness. The dedication of the programs and the commitment of their staffs have resulted in a very accomplished first year. We look forward to working with them again as they continue to address this important issue. Addressing the health needs of the homeless is an extension of our not-for-profit mission to improve the well-being of the communities Tufts Health Plan serves.”

John M. Crowe, M.D., Chairman of the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation, said “We are encouraged by the first year’s results, and we continue to believe that these programs are ‘preventive medicine’ at its best in avoiding homelessness.   But we also recognize that ‘prevention’ is a long-term process that requires constant attention, and we know there is much more to accomplish. We congratulate and thank these agencies and their staffs for their hard work and initial success, for these are the people who are providing critical services and succeeding at the grass roots level.”

The Homelessness Prevention Initiative was started in the spring of 2003, under the leadership of the Boston Foundation and Tufts Health Plan. A collaborative of local funders established the Initiative as an effort to focus attention and resources on this issue, drawing on the expertise of a diverse advisory committee of advocates, providers and public officials. The $700,000 core funding for the Initiative comes from a grant from the Starr Foundation of New York City to the Boston Foundation, and from the Munro Fund at the Boston Foundation. A grant from Tufts Health Plan of $250,000 and $50,000 from the Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation put the Initiative at the $1 million level.

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  • For interviews with agency directors, please call one of the contacts listed above.

About the Initiative Partners:

The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $650 million, made grants of  $48 million to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $38 million last year. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visit www.tbf.org , or call 617-338-1700.

Tufts Health Plan’s Community Partnerships program was formed in 1997.   The program supports health improvement at the community level through prevention and health promotion activities within target populations of underserved, at-risk women and infants, elders and teens.  Through its Community Partnerships program, Tufts Health Plan seeks to support, advance and advocate for public health goals and community-based prevention.  Last year, Tufts Health Plan began a three-year $1.5 million funding commitment to organizations providing teen mental health services.  The grants presented today represent year two of a three-year $750,000 commitment to this initiative.

The Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation is a supporting organization of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide association of physicians. The Foundation's mission is to support the charitable and educational activities of the Society and Alliance and address issues affecting the health, benefit, and welfare of the community. The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 18,300 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society publishes The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s leading medical journals; the Journal Watch family of professional newsletters covering 11 specialties; and AIDS Clinical Care. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country. For more information on the Foundation and its activities visit http:/// www.mmsfoundation.org

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Agency Recipients

  • Advocates, Inc., $50,000 for the Housing Advocacy Services program, to provide individuals and families at-risk of homelessness assistance in identifying and securing affordable housing units, housing and income benefits, and legal assistance. Goal: Provide legal support and assist Metrowest families with finding affordable housing.
  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters, $45,000 for the Transitional Day Program   to prevent homelessness among high-risk youth, particular those young people known as “couch kids” who are living in a series of temporary situations with friends and acquaintances. Goal: Provide intensive case management for youth at-risk for homelessness and facing barriers to obtaining permanent housing.
  • Caritas Communities, $25,000 for Supplemental Rental Assistance to provide rental assistance to very low-income individuals living in Single Room Occupancy units. Goal: Provide rental assistance and locate housing for low-income individuals.
  • Family to Family, $40,000 for the Homelessness Prevention Partnership, a collaborative of six agencies that will provide direct economic assistance to families at risk, including working families in danger of losing their rental housing, homeowners in danger of losing their homes, and domestic violence victims needing assistance to remain housed. Goal: Provide direct economic assistance and stabilization services to families in the Boston area.
  • Homes for Families, $75,000 for the Homes for Families Prevention Collaborative, a collaboration with Travelers Aid Family Services, Project Hope and the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, the project will serve families that are ineligible for the state’s Emergency Assistance program. Goal: Provides direct support for Boston families who apply for state assistance but are over the income limit for DTA assistance.
  • HomeStart, $75,000 for the HouseHold Program, a partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services that will provide a single point of entry for services to families and disabled individuals who live in public or subsidized housing and are at risk of eviction. Goal: Provide a single-point of entry to legal, advocacy and mediation services for Greater Boston families currently residing in public housing and at-risk for eviction.
  • Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, $75,000 for the First Stop Initiative, which will pilot an early warning prevention approach at three Boston community health centers to identify and assist families and individuals at-risk of losing their housing. Goal: To place housing advocates in Boston community health centers to act as an early warning prevention team providing support to families before they lose housing.
  • Somerville Mental Health Association, $50,000 for the Somerville Collaboration to Prevent Homelessness, in which four Somerville agencies will coordinate services to stabilize housing for families and individuals who are at risk of homelessness by providing a behavioral health outreach worker who can link them to therapeutic services, plus cash for rental assistance and transportation as well as training in financial literacy. Goal: Provides housing assistance and   behavioral health outreach to Somerville families at-risk of homelessness.
  • Span, Inc., $55,000 for the Re-Integration Support Program, which will provide case management services to assist  reintegrating adult male offenders and ex-offenders.  Goal: Provide case management services to help reintegrate adults statewide being released from custody.
  • Tri-City Community Action Programs, $60,000 for the Tenancy Preservation Project, a collaborative effort with the housing authority to provide assistance to public housing residents facing eviction proceedings in Malden District Court for non-payment of rent. Goal: Provide counseling, support and secure agreements between Malden and Everett families and public housing authorities to suspend eviction proceedings for one-year for tenants.
  • Victory Programs, $52,000 for the Homelessness Prevention Program, which will expand an effective prevention program currently in place for HIV-infected clients to all clients about to be discharged from four residential substance abuse programs. Goal: A homelessness prevention specialist will provide intensive case management for people discharged from residential substance abuse programs.
  • HarborCOV, $60,000 for the HarborCOV-CAPIC Prevention Project, a collaboration with the anti-poverty agency, Chelsea Action Programs Inner-City, the program will serve low-income families affected by domestic violence and at-risk for homelessness in Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and Winthrop. Goal:   Provide direct financial assistance and case management services to low-income families in Chelsea affected by domestic violence.
  • Mental Health Association, Inc., $49,254 for the Tenancy Preservation Program in which a masters-level clinician will assess and refer patients to appropriate medical resources in Springfield. Goal: Help 125 mothers and children in the Springfield area at risk of being evicted because of mental illness.
  • Newton Community Service Center, $55,260 for the Parents Program for Pregnant/Parenting Teens to provide clinical counseling and a variety of support services to young pregnant and parenting women who are in danger of becoming homeless without intervention. Goal: Assist 75 pregnant and young parents at risk for homelessness in Newton, Waltham, Wellesley, Needham and Watertown.
  • Project Place, $60,000 for the Comprehensive Homelessness Intervention Program (CHIP)a collaboration with the South End Community Health Center, CHIP will work to prevent female offenders from becoming homeless once they are released from prison. Goal: Prevent 50 women in Greater Boston from becoming homeless once they are released from prison.
  • Rosie’s Place,  $60,000 for the Non-Residential Support Service Program, which will provide services for  women with chronic mental illnesses who have housing in the community but are in imminent danger of becoming homeless. Goal: Assist 100 mentally ill women in danger of becoming homeless in Greater Boston.
  • Family Health Center of Worcester, $43,048 for the Preventing Homeless Families Initiative, a collaboration with U-Mass Medical School that will provide “one-stop” access to health care and health-related services for families who are living in transient situations. Goal:  Provide housing and health services for 50 homeless or transient families in the Worcester area.
  • Gosnold, Inc. (Cape Cod), $69,567 for the Seeking Safety for Self-Sufficiency program, a collaboration with Independence House, to prevent homelessness on Cape Cod among families who have experienced domestic violence.   Goal:  Prevent 85 women and children from homelessness on Cape Cod and the Islands by providing counseling for women who suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome.