Funding will expand access to emergency housing assistance through local groups’ outreach.
BOSTON, MA — November 23, 2021 — Today, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), The Boston Foundation, United Way of Greater Fall River, United Way of Greater New Bedford, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) announced one-time grants totaling $678,000 awarded to twenty Massachusetts community-based organizations as part of their Neighborhood Emergency Housing Support (NEHS) program. These grants will support local organizations in communities most impacted by the pandemic in helping more than 9,000 people across 15 languages apply for financial assistance and avoid foreclosures, evictions, and homelessness.
“Neighborhood coalitions are a key touchpoint for people in their everyday lives. The power of local organizations’ reach will bolster the state’s effort to ensure everyone can access the aid they need and recover from the pandemic,” said Rachel Heller, CHAPA’s chief executive officer. “In addition to connecting people with resources, this initiative will inform future housing stability programs intended to help families and individuals stay rooted in their communities.”
The twenty grantees are Amherst Community Connections; Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc. (BAMSI); Cape Verdean Association of Brockton; Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF); Centro Las Americas, Inc. (D/B/A CENTRO); Community Action, Inc.; Community Economic Development Center (CEDC); Everett Haitian Community Center; Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center, Inc.; HomeStart; La Colaborativa; Lawrence CommunityWorks, Inc. (LCW); Lowell Alliance; Lynn United for Change Empowerment Project; Making Opportunity Count, Inc. (MOC); Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS); New England Wellness Foundation; PACE; SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc.; and Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Inc.
“This work is so important for the residents of our community who are not only especially vulnerable to housing instability, but also less likely to seek assistance or know about public resources,” said Jessica Andors, executive director of Lawrence CommunityWorks. “Critical funding from CHAPA that fosters collaboration and networks of support helps us to reach these marginalized but essential households in Lawrence and reduce the negative impacts of housing insecurity.”
Community-based organizations submitted applications in response to a Request for Proposals released last month. With the information gained from grantees in monthly reports and regular cohort calls during the grant period, CHAPA and their partners will release a white paper to highlight critical opportunities and innovations to prevent evictions, including how to best reach Massachusetts residents with low and extremely low incomes about available housing resources.
“We know from experience that stable housing has a critical impact on multiple elements of wellbeing and that those organizations working most closely with families are best placed to have an impact,” said Lee Pelton, president and chief executive officer of the Boston Foundation. “We are hopeful this program will both have its own impact and serve as a model for broader efforts moving forward.”
“Our priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been to help keep residents safe, healthy, and housed,” said Bob Gianinno, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “Language and digital barriers, along with an under-resourced crisis response system, have contributed to preventing many eligible families from accessing available rental assistance. This funding will support critical caseworkers on the ground to help ensure that rental assistance is reaching residents who need it most. We’ve seen this approach work in Chelsea, and this partnership between CHAPA, The Boston Foundation, and United Way will bring it to more communities.”
“We are proud to support the great organizations who help keep families housed in our region,” said Michelle Hantman, chief executive officer and president of the United Way of Greater New Bedford. “Even before the pandemic, the shortage of affordable housing was reaching crisis proportions. Today, far too many families face the frightening prospect of losing their shelter, and United Way of Greater New Bedford is committed to helping our community partners address this crisis.”
The NEHS program was funded through a board-approved release from CHAPA’s reserves to meet the unique, critical need of those struggling with the dual impacts of ongoing economic and health crises. United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, United Way of Greater New Bedford, United Way of Greater Fall River, The Boston Foundation, and NLIHC contributed additional funding.
Citizens’ Housing & Planning Association (CHAPA) is the leading statewide affordable housing policy organization in Massachusetts, bringing together stakeholders from across the housing and community development field to build consensus around solutions. Established in 1967, CHAPA advocates for increased opportunity and expanded access to housing so that every person in Massachusetts can have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home. For more information, visit www.chapa.org.
The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, brings people and resources together to solve Boston’s big problems. Established in 1915, it is one of the largest community foundations in the nation—with net assets of $1.7 billion. In 2020, the Foundation and its donors paid $215 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The Foundation works in close partnership with its donors, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. It also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston.
United Way organizations across Massachusetts have been responding to local needs and the Commonwealth’s most pressing issues in partnership with our networks of community-based organizations since our beginning. That network, along with people and partners across our region, is what gives us the stability to be working on behalf of our communities for the long haul, with the agility to provide resources and expertise where they are needed most. The tough work that will be needed to empower communities to respond, recover, reimagine and rebuild is the work United Way does every day. For more information, visit www.unitedwaymassbay.org.