United Way holds Boston’s first Project Homeless Connect

August 12, 2017

One-day event at Reggie Lewis Center connected hundreds of children and families to critical services and resources

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley brought together more than 350 volunteers along with over 40 businesses, government agencies and community-based organizations to provide critical services and resources to local families currently experiencing homelessness.  United Way’s first Project Homeless Connect was held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. Over 230 families registered to attend the one-day event aimed at connecting them to a wide range of services and resources all in one convenient location.

Throughout the day, adults and family members experiencing homelessness were matched one-on-one with volunteers to guide them through the services they needed the most.  Families who signed up to attend the event reported back to school supplies, professional clothing, consultation with employers about temporary or entry-level positions, career counseling and financial checkups as the top five services they were interested in receiving.

“United Way harnesses the power of communities working together – individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and city and state governments – to deliver positive, lasting change,” said Michael K. Durkin, President at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “Project Homeless Connect is all of that and more.  We are so grateful to the volunteers, community-based organizations, businesses, and state and city agencies for offering their services and joining our fight to help families who are experiencing homelessness.”

Services offered at the Project Homeless Connect in Boston included:

  • Dental screening and protective fluoride treatments for children
  • Legal consultation
  • Financial check-ups – improving credit scores to save money
  • Employers
  • Resources about children’s behavior or development
  • Connections to City of Boston and state agencies
  • Access to SNAP benefits, workshops on healthy eating and stretching a family’s grocery budget
  • Career coaching and assistance with writing a resume
  • Adult and children’s haircuts
  • Professional clothing
  • Back to School supplies

The day kicked off with a welcome and thank you rally for the volunteers and service providers from state, business and nonprofit leaders.  Those speaking included Jeff McCue, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance; Linn Torto, Executive Director, Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness; Anthony Benedetti, Chief Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services; Steve Krichmar, Chairman, United Way Board of Directors and Managing Principal of Krichmar & Associates; and Michael K. Durkin, United Way President and Chief Executive Officer.

Organizations and businesses offering services included AT&T, Liberty Bay Credit Union, TJX, Marshall’s, Whole Foods, Target, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Tailored for Success, Toni and Guy, the Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment, Mass Eye & Ear, Mass General Hospital, BU Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, the Commonwealth’s Department of Transitional Assistance, and Registry of Motor Vehicles, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership and many more.

The event was made possible through a mix of individual and corporate donors, including Yale Appliance & Lighting and Eastern Bank.  Many local companies offered volunteers, including P&G Gillette, Deloitte, Bank of America, Hubspot and EF Education First.