FBMS receives state support for bold plan to end homelessness in Plymouth County

Non-profit organization’s Housing Resource Center re-envisions approach to homelessness

Brockton Housing Resource Center Rendering

BROCKTON, Mass., July 20, 2022] Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), a regional leader of services to prevent and end homelessness, is receiving $4.4 million in state funding toward the first phase of its innovative Housing Resource Center (HRC) at 124 Manley Street Brockton. The development would replicate the organization’s Yawkey Housing Resource Center that is currently being constructed in Quincy.

Business and community leaders have hailed the Housing Resource Center as a national model in the fight to end homelessness, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic and historic inflation create unprecedented challenges for low-income and working-class households.

The Baker-Polito Administration on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 announced funding for the HRC in Brockton and 10 other projects during an event celebrating this year’s supportive housing awards round. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox attended the event, held at the Aurora Apartments in Worcester.

Each year, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) works with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) to distribute capital funds as well as project-based housing vouchers to pay for supportive services through a competitive process administered by the agency’s Supportive Housing for Vulnerable Populations program.

“This is our moment to step up and advance our goal of ending homelessness with proactive, cost-effective solutions, instead of trying to manage it with a reactive, outdated approach,” said FBMS President & CEO John Yazwinski. “We’re grateful to the Baker-Polito administration, DHCD, CEDAC, and our committed network of supporters for believing in our Housing Resource Center model, which will help create a more equitable community here in Plymouth County.”

FBMS’ HRC model aims to transform how a region assists individuals who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness by replacing its existing overnight emergency shelter with a campus comprised of a day center, an emergency shelter, and on-site efficiency apartments. The new approach would dedicate more staff and resources to homelessness prevention, diversion and rapid re-housing, thus reducing the overall reliance on overnight shelter and other costly emergency services.

The day center, not currently offered by traditional overnight shelters, will serve as a one-stop site offering co-located programs with partner resources and wraparound services that provide individuals with the personalized, targeted support they need. The center will remove barriers to housing and help address major factors contributing to health and housing outcomes, including nutrition, job readiness, behavioral health, addiction, and recovery support.

The first phase of the Brockton HRC, set to start later this year, is the conversion of the existing building at 124 Manley Street, site of the former Brockton U.S. Army Reserve Center, into a 16,500-square-foot building with the innovative day center and emergency shelter with 128 beds. The development would replace FBMS’ existing shelter, the MainSpring House located at 54 North Main Street, a 128-year-old building in downtown Brockton.

Other features include a healthcare clinic, commercial kitchen space, dining area, showers, a laundry area, bathrooms, private meeting space, administrative offices, and a library area with access to technology.

The second phase, expected to start next year, is the construction of a 14,542-square-foot adjacent building consisting of 32 apartments for formerly homeless individuals. Tenants will have access to FBMS case managers who will help them remain housed and become more self-sufficient. FBMS currently manages more than 600 permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless individuals, families, and Veterans across Southern Massachusetts.

The Yawkey Housing Resource Center in Quincy, currently under construction and set to open in 2023, includes two new buildings with a day center, 75 shelter beds, and 30 housing units.

FBMS has launched a “A Path Home” campaign to raise $14 million privately to support capital and programmatic expenses at both HRCs. Thus far, $10 million has been raised toward the goal. Individuals and businesses interested in supporting this campaign can contact FBMS Chief Development Officer Catie Reilly at cmreilly@helpfbms.org or visit pathhome.helpfbms.org.

In total, the Baker-Polito Administration on Tuesday awarded $31 Million to 11 supportive housing projects for vulnerable communities.

“Building and preserving supportive housing is a critical part of ensuring a healthy housing market that meets the diverse needs of our Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to direct state and federal funds to bolster the pipeline of housing projects and provide stable housing options for all households.”

“These awards will provide vital housing resources in cities and towns across our state, and we are proud to support the creation of new shelter and permanent housing units this year,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Here in Worcester, the redevelopment of the Aurora Apartments will ensure this building remains a vibrant part of our downtown and offers a unique resource to individuals struggling with housing stability. We are grateful to our partners across the Commonwealth for dedicating their expertise to our most vulnerable populations.”

“In the midst of Massachusetts’ ongoing housing crisis, it is critical that we build and preserve permanent supportive housing that meets the needs of our most vulnerable residents,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Housing has been a key area of focus for the Baker-Polito Administration since day one, and we are continuing that commitment now by directing $31 million to support 11 housing projects from Springfield to Boston.”

“We have a housing shortage affecting every corner of our Commonwealth, but we also have an incredible opportunity to leverage growing momentum for housing production and immense new state and federal resources,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox. “The Department of Housing and Community Development is committed to helping cities and towns plan for housing by providing technical assistance and funding to help projects move from an idea to new homes.”

“CEDAC is proud to collaborate with the Baker-Polito Administration and our non-profit housing partners on these new supportive housing developments, which come at a time of intense need as the Commonwealth faces an ongoing housing shortage that affects the most vulnerable members of our population,” said Roger Herzog, Executive Director of CEDAC. “We look forward to continuing our work with Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox and her team at the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as we pursue our mission to increase housing accessibility for those in need.”

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About Father Bill’s & MainSpring

Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS) is the leading provider of services to prevent and end homelessness in Southern Massachusetts. The agency, founded in the early 1980s by a group of interfaith and community leaders, helps more than 5,000 people annually who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. FBMS, a proud partner of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency with administrative offices in Quincy and Brockton and program offices throughout Southern Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.helpfbms.org.