John Yazwinski’s road to becoming one of the region’s thought leaders in addressing homelessness started on the front lines over two decades ago, when he served as an intern for the Quincy Interfaith Sheltering Coalition (Father Bill’s Place). After graduating from Bentley College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, John worked as a case manager for the Quincy shelter between 1996 and 1998, providing stabilization and crisis-intervention services to residents in need. From 1998 to 1999, he served as the agency’s Director of Housing Services, overseeing state and federal housing programs, supervising and training housing-search specialists, and implementing a consumer advisory board.
John, whose professional and personal growth came under the tutelage of shelter founder Father Bill McCarthy, was named Executive Director of Father Bill’s Place in 1999. Five years later, he implemented an innovative strategy to shift from the emergency shelter system to a Housing First model, a cost-effective solution he has advocated for at meetings and conferences at the local, state and national levels. In 2007, John was selected to lead Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), overseeing the successful merger of Quincy Interfaith Sheltering Coalition and the MainSpring Coalition for the Homeless in Brockton, two faith-based organizations with similar missions.
Over the past decade-plus, John has maintained and built partnerships with public and private organizations, including nonprofit housing developer NeighborWorks Housing Solutions. He has revamped the agency’s workforce development program, WorkExpress, into a sustainable social business enterprise, and he led the completion of the agency’s first housing development projects, which are included in the more than 600 permanent supportive housing units FBMS currently manages for homeless individuals, families, and Veterans throughout the region. In recent years, he led a 5-year strategic plan focused on new housing development, strengthening community relations, creating a new program model to help families, and building a new Housing Resource Center model to shift away from the traditional emergency-shelter model and end homelessness more rapidly for the most vulnerable members of the community.