Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts (formerly South Shore Housing) is a nonprofit organization serving Plymouth and Bristol counties. We wear many hats, but our overarching goal is to help people find affordable housing as a way to gain stability in their lives. Our programs, education, training, and resources help low-to-moderate income clients get back on their feet, including people who are homeless and in crisis. We also work with property developers, service providers, and municipalities to create and support affordable housing. How can we help you?
An affordable home is the foundation for building stronger families and better futures.
We honored Ita Mullarkey, Associate Director of the Division of Housing Stabilization at the Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development, with our Unsung Hero award for her on-the-ground leadership in the Commonwealth’s success at significantly reducing family homelessness across the state, including in Southeastern Massachusetts.
State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, representing the First Bristol and Plymouth District, was honored with our Outstanding Community Partner Award for his leadership in addressing homelessness both at the State House and through regional efforts on the South Coast.
Finally, we honored the Duxbury Rotary Club with this year’s Ray Morrison Volunteer Service Award for exemplifying the Christmas spirit by generously buying, wrapping and delivering Christmas gifts to the 12 families in our SSTAP domestic violence program.
The meeting also featured a panel discussion focused on strategies to promote economic mobility among the low-income people Housing Solutions serves. Judy Parks, the V.P. of Mobility Mentoring at EMPath (formerly Crittenton Women’s Union) described EMPath’s “Bridge to Self-Sufficiency” model, which highlights five key components of family economic independence. Kathy Whitten, another panelist and a participant in Housing Solutions’ Family Self Sufficiency program, reinforced these points through her description of her own path to greater economic independence.
The panel shed light on the work Housing Solutions is committed to advancing as part of our in-process strategic plan. “Stable housing is the first step,” said Executive Director Carl Nagy-Koechlin. “Then we need to help families move forward economically.”
For about 10 years, RAFT has assisted low-income families who are at risk of homelessness to remain stably housed. With flexible assistance of about $3,000 per family, RAFT helps thousands of families avert eviction, thereby helping them avert the trauma of homelessness. The report finds further that RAFT accomplishes this at one-tenth the cost of a typical shelter stay.
Housing Solutions operates RAFT in Southeastern Mass. According to the report, RAFT’s impact in the region has been striking:
- Housing Solutions assisted 340 families in Southeastern Massachusetts with $1.1 million in RAFT funds. If even half of these families had become homeless, sheltering costs would have exceeded $5 million.
- RAFT assisted families in nearly 40 cities and towns in Southeastern Mass., from the cities of New Bedford, Brockton and Fall River to towns like Marion, Cohasset, Whitman and North Attleboro.
- Of the 332 families we assisted with RAFT in FY15 none returned seeking RAFT funds in FY16, demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of Housing Solutions’ management of the program.
As with so many well-conceived and well-run affordable housing programs, RAFT stabilizes families and communities, while saving money.
By Katie Johnston, Boston Globe, September 17, 2015
Median household income rose slightly in Massachusetts between 2013 and 2014, while the poverty level remained essentially unchanged, according to census data to be released Thursday. But the need among low-income families is growing in many parts of the state, social service agencies say — in some cases exceeding levels seen during the recession.
Many factors contribute to this apparent discrepancy. Housing and heating costs continue to rise in Massachusetts as hourly wages stagnate, putting more families on the margins, even if they are not considered poor by federal standards, according to public policy researchers. In addition, rising household income is not being distributed evenly, with the largest share going to the highest-income households.
“While the economy has improved, it has improved less for the lower-income people we serve,” said Carl Nagy-Koechlin, executive director at South Shore Housing in Kingston, which runs several housing assistance programs. “Whatever improvements there may be with wages and lower unemployment are wiped out or worse by rising housing prices.”