Why ICycle: Matt Pritchard of HomeStart

April 19, 2016

ICycle 2016 - Matt Pritchard
Matt Pritchard, Executive Director of HomeStart, with O’Neill and Associates’ Ann Murphy, Cayenne Isaksen and Jennie Hardin at ICycle 2016

One of my favorite things in the world is watching someone stop what they are doing to support another person who is suffering.  On a chilly day this past February that is exactly what 320 people did, and it was incredible! Those 320 individuals do not include the countless others who stopped what they were doing as they walked by, and decided to donate to this incredible cause. This is just one reason why ICycle.

Tonight, more than 1,200 people in Boston will fall asleep on a sidewalk or on a cot in a shelter because they’ve experienced a crisis and suddenly found themselves homeless.  At some point, most people I know have asked themselves the question, “How can I make a dent in a person’s homelessness?  Is there any way for one person to provide meaningful help?”  HomeStart has provided folks with an answer to those questions, and it is a resounding, “Yes!”

One way that HomeStart has answered this question is with ICycle: an outdoor spinning marathon where individuals and corporate teams raise money and ride on a spinning bike, outside, in the winter, to show solidarity with and support people who are homeless and find themselves living outside.  When those 320 people braved the cold and the elements in February, they made a practical and tangible dent in the ongoing problem facing our city. The simple act of riding a bike, with the fundraising support from others, made it possible for HomeStart to provide the service that will permanently end a person’s homelessness, and many people (who they will probably never know) will celebrate because of their help. And that is why ICycle.

Now, as the season’s change and our weather inevitably begins to get warmer, it is just as important as ever for us to remember our 1,200 neighbors who are experiencing the greatest suffering. Our goal at HomeStart is to serve all of them. Simply put, the more people who are willing to brave the cold and stop what they are doing to ride in ICycle in years to come will help us to do that!  That is why ICycle.

Last year, HomeStart permanently housed 680 people who were living on the streets or in a shelter in Boston and Cambridge.  By doing so, HomeStart very quietly and under almost every radar changed Boston and Cambridge’s public spaces and dramatically reduced trauma and suffering of our most vulnerable residents.  Every night on Boston’s streets and in shelters, people will fall asleep hoping that, tomorrow, they will be able to find a HomeStart advocate- because they know that HomeStart can – and does – permanently end cycles of homelessness for so many. And that is why WECycle.

So with this, on behalf of our 1200 beautiful and hurting neighbors, I’d like to give 1200 cheers to all this year’s riders who were willing and able to stop what they were doing to support another person who is suffering! Someone whose name they may never even know. Thank you so much, and I heartily look forward to seeing you again next year!

Matt Pritchard

Executive Director, HomeStart

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