Father Bill’s & MainSpring utilizing federal land in Brockton to build campus addressing homelessness, housing insecurity
Non-profit organization’s Housing Resource Center re-envisions approach to homelessness
[BROCKTON, Mass., May 3, 2023] Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), a regional leader of services to prevent and end homelessness, is repurposing unused federal land in Brockton to build a $19 million Housing Resource Center that will support individuals facing a housing crisis in Plymouth County. Business and community leaders have hailed the Housing Resource Center as a national model in the fight to end homelessness.
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll and Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan were among approximately 200 officials, project supporters and community members who gathered Wednesday, May 3, 2023 for a groundbreaking ceremony held at the future site of the development, located at a former U.S. Army Reserve Center next to the Brockton VA Medical Campus.
The Brockton Housing Resource Center will replicate FBMS’ Yawkey Housing Resource Center in Quincy, currently under construction and set to open this August.
“On behalf of the entire Healey-Driscoll Administration, we’d like to congratulate Father Bill’s and MainSpring on reaching this milestone for such an important project,” said Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll. “The Brockton Housing Resource Center will be a game-changer for the region, and we are proud to support this vital resource that will support individuals experiencing homelessness and help connect them with safe, secure housing.”
“In order to end homelessness, we need to think outside the box, explore all opportunities for innovation, and collaborate with our partners in government and the private sector,” said FBMS President & CEO John Yazwinski. “That is exactly what we’re doing here with the Brockton Housing Resource Center. The federal government, through the U.S. General Services Administration, is helping our bold vision become a reality in Brockton. We are grateful to the Healey-Driscoll administration, DHCD, Mayor Bob Sullivan and the City of Brockton, Plymouth County leaders, CEDAC, and our dedicated supporters for believing in our new model.”
“The City of Brockton values all of its residents, and that includes unhoused individuals. This vulnerable population will now have a safe space, with wrap-around services and essential resources to provide personalized support,” said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan. “The ultimate goal is for them to become re-housed and to secure a path that ensures the restoration of their dignity and their safety. We are confident that this revolutionary model will be a game changer for these individuals and for the City as a whole.”
The property at 124 Manley Street was assigned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to complete the conveyance to FBMS through the Title V of the McKinney-Vento Act, which allows eligible entities to apply for unneeded federal property for uses that assist individuals experiencing homelessness.
“Overseeing the disposition of unneeded federal property is an integral part of the U.S. General Services Administration’s mission,” said Region 1 Public Buildings Service Commissioner and Acting Regional Administrator Glenn C. Rotondo. “Father Bill's & MainSpring’s project will leave a lasting positive impact on the county, and is a perfect example of what can be done when federal and local governments partner with nonprofits for the betterment of the local community.”
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, expected to be completed by the end of 2024, is the conversion of the existing building at 124 Manley Street, site of the former 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 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 700 permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless individuals, families, and Veterans across Southern Massachusetts.
The $19 million Housing Resource Center is being supported by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services/Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance, the City of Brockton, Plymouth County, and Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). Project lenders include Property and Casualty Initiative and HarborOneBank.
FBMS has launched a “A Path Home” campaign to raise $4 million privately to support capital and programmatic expenses at the Brockton Housing Resource Center. Individuals and businesses interested in supporting this campaign can contact FBMS Chief Development Officer Catie Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit pathhome.helpfbms.org.
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.