Coalition for Homeless Individuals and Homeless Men and Women Advocate for Additional Funding at State House to Help End Homelessness
Over 40 organizations joined homeless men and women
to promote the needs of the provider organizations, share personal stories
The Coalition for Homeless Individuals (CHI) today hosted its annual Advocacy Day breakfast, an opportunity for State legislators to learn more about CHI and the issues and needs of the system of providers working to respond to, and support, homeless individuals across the state. The Coalition has requested $55 million for its line item to support homeless individuals for FY20.
CHI is a network of 40 agencies, focused on supporting homeless individuals, that contract with the state to provide emergency shelter (day and night shelter), permanent housing, health care, employment services and other critical services to change the trajectory of homelessness in Massachusetts.
We know that our work is making a difference, we see it every day,” said Karen LaFrazia, President and CEO of St. Francis House in Boston. “But, we are also encountering men and women with increasingly complex needs that require complex treatment plans. Ending homelessness is about more than identifying shelter, to truly put a person back on a path of self-sufficiency we must provide them with the support and services needed to treat their underlying issues, as well. It takes a holistic approach.”
The state funds homelessness services through two avenues: family-based services and services for individuals. CHI focuses on providing vital services that help homeless individuals transition out of homelessness. Nearly a third of the state’s homeless population are individuals, but only 18% of the funding for homelessness goes to support homeless individuals, and the number of adults and unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness is growing. Additionally, agencies serving homeless individuals are assisting an increasing number of individuals suffering from substance abuse. The individuals seeking out help often require more complex services and support than ever before particularly as the state continues to cope with the opioid epidemic.
“Homelessness is a statewide issue, affecting cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth,” said Bill Miller, Vice President of Clinical & Support Options Inc. (CSO) in Western Massachusetts. “We have done a tremendous job working to end homelessness for thousands of men and women but the reality is there are still thousands more who need the support and services offered by CHI organizations and that’s why we are here today.”
For FY21, The Coalition has requested $58 million in line item 7004-0102 to support homeless individual providers and $5 million in line item 7004-0202 to continue the rapid transition of homeless individuals into permanent housing. Governor Baker included $53,355,000 in line item 7004-0102 and $4,890,148 in line item 7004-0202 in his FY21 Budget. If the state were to provide the full funding needed, the appropriation would total more than $85 million when adjusted with inflation.
The Coalition for Homeless Individuals is a statewide collection of emergency shelters, human service providers and their supporters that are working together to change the trajectory of homelessness in Massachusetts.