|State Allocates $150K To Berkshires For Overflow Sheltering This Winter|
|Staff Reports, |
01:35AM / Thursday, November 08, 2018
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state has allocated $150,000 to provide addition shelters for those in need this winter.
The Department of Housing and Community Development is providing the funds to ServiceNet to provide overflow sheltering. ServiceNet will subcontract with other organizations in the county including Soldier On in Pittsfield, Construct in Great Barrington, and the Lousison House in North Adams to serve the homeless population this winter.
"It is welcome news that the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development will continue to provide funding for the Winter Overflow Homeless Shelter beds. The continued support of DHCD, the Berkshire legislative delegation, and Mayor Tyer are indicative of both the high level of need for these resources during the cold weather months and a measure of the effectiveness of the six-year-long collaboration between Berkshire County's shelter providers and the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority," reads a statement from Brad Gordon, executive director with the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority.
The county's state legislative delegation, community organizations, and Mayor Linda Tyer led the effort in pushing for the funds.
"My deepest thanks to the Department of Community and Housing Development for providing this crucial funding once again. For the past six years, it has served as a vital resource for Pittsfield's and Berkshire County's homeless community. We know that access to winter sheltering is literally life or death for homeless men and women," Tyer said.
"Now, we are able to provide this much-needed support to members of our community. I am deeply proud to be a part of a county that knows the value of true partnership to ensure that we continue to help our under-resourced citizens."
Last year the state had withheld the additional funds and Barton's Crossing struggled to keep up with the demands. This year the money has been released before the cold truly set in.
"This comes at an important time as cold weather arrives, and at a time when there remains an incredible need. When it comes to supporting some of the most vulnerable in our community it often takes teamwork at the local and state level, and this is a tremendous example of that," said state Sen. Adam Hinds said.
ServiceNet's Jay Sacchetti, Senior Vice President of Shelter & Housing, Vocational, and Addiction Service, acknowledged the significance of collaboration among the area agencies and praised the state for the funding.
"Our partnership and advocacy with Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority has made it possible to continue a countywide effort to shelter people during the coldest months of the year. We are pleased to be able to collaborate with and provide funding to Louison House, Construct and Soldier On to meet the needs of homeless individuals in Berkshire County," Sacchetti said.
"We would like the thank Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development Jane Banks for making this funding available."
Homelessness has been moved to the front-burner in Pittsfield specifically with the recent creation of a Homeless Prevention Committee. That committee is eyed to connect more closely and care for the city's homeless residents at a greater level.
"Agencies in Berkshire County collaborate better than anywhere else and there is no better example than those that work together to address winter shelter needs. Because of that, the $150,000 of state funding goes a long way," said Farley-Bouvier.
"We have a great deal of work to do to reduce and eliminate homelessness in our city and in the Commonwealth. In the meantime, we are incredibly fortunate to have these dedicated professionals serving these vulnerable citizens."