Lynn Family Success Center Officially Opens its Doors

November 19, 2014

New center is aimed at reducing poverty in Lynn

LYNN — Taking aim at the City’s 21.9% poverty rate, which is nearly twice the statewide average, the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development (LHAND) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announced the grand opening and launch of the Lynn Family Success Center on Wheeler Street.

The Lynn Family Success Center model is based on research that demonstrates that individuals who benefit from a center-based approach that offers bundled services and coaching are far more likely to increase their income, net worth or credit scores.  The center will also serve as the hub for a unique partnership between LHAND, United Way and Lynn Public Schools to identify homeless children, and children at-risk of homelessness, and connect them to academic support and resources, and to also connect their families to the financial stability services.  United Way is awarding $810,000 over the next three years to support both the financial stability services and the school outreach efforts at the center.

“What we know from both our experience and national research is that for low-income individuals and families who are struggling financially, the approach of connecting them to integrated and coordinated services creates better outcomes for those individuals,” said Michael K. Durkin, president at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “We are honored to have the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development as our partner for this work in Lynn, and we believe providing more opportunities to lift families our of poverty is good for the City and the region.”

“The Lynn Family Success Center is the culmination of a lot of hard work towards getting all of these necessary services together under one roof,” said Charles Gaeta, Executive Director of LHAND.  “It is extremely important because along with housing, you need the depth and breadth of services we are offering here, along with the personalized approach of coaching individuals toward long-term financial goals, to truly make families successful.”

Joining United Way and LHAND at the grand opening today were Lynn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham, JVS Boston President and CEO Jerry Rubin and State Representative-Elect Brendan Crighton.

A cornerstone of the Family Success Center will be the financial stability services (known as the Financial Stability Center model) that will connect families to jobs; improve skills through education and training; help build assets and skills through financial education, coaching and credit counseling; and help those in immediate need with access to income supports and benefits.

Also housed at the Center will be LHAND’s housing and case management programs, services for veterans, Lynn’s Continuum of Care centralized intake services, partner agencies that provide child care resources and family nurturing programs for grandparents, fathers and families, and the planning coalitions for homeless services in the region.

This center is one of six centers operated by the United Way in the region and includes a partnership with JVS, which is providing employment services and vocational English as Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.  The North Shore Career Center will also be providing employment services on site at the center.

“This comprehensive approach will empower families to get good jobs and build quality careers,” said Jerry Rubin, President and CEO of JVS.  “They will build language and computer skills, as well as financial literacy, for economic stability and advancement. “

The Lynn Family Success Center will also serve as the hub for a partnership between United Way, LHAND and Lynn Public Schools, funded by the Siemer Institute for Family Stability, to connect homeless children, and those at-risk of homelessness, to academic support and resources, and to also connect their families to the services of the financial stability center.

“We are thrilled to partner with LHAND and United Way, and we’re grateful for the support of the Siemer Institute for Family Stability,” said Dr. Catherine Latham, Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools.  “When families are struggling to provide food and shelter for their children, education can often take a backseat. It is vital for all of our students to get the academic resources they need to progress through our system successfully.”