For Immediate Release - December 16, 2008

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Regional Pilot Networks to Lessen Shelter Needs for the Homeless

$8 Million in Funding to Help Agencies Coordinate, Streamline Services, and Find Permanent Housing for Homeless

BOSTON- Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - The Patrick-Murray Administration today continued to restructure support systems that serve the homeless by awarding $8 million to eight regional pilot networks around the state. The networks will help better coordinate, integrate and implement innovative services focused on securing permanent housing options for homeless individuals and families, and ultimately lessen the need for emergency assistance shelters.

Lt. Governor Timothy Murray announced the funding today at the State House, following a meeting of the Massachusetts Interagency Council of Housing and Homelessness.

"This award is part of our ongoing commitment to decrease the need for emergency shelters by helping families and individuals to find permanent housing," said Lt. Governor Murray, who serves as chairman of the ICHH. "This regional network system will help identify best practices through flexible housing resources and innovative services to help us achieve our ultimate goal of permanently ending homelessness in Massachusetts"

Governor Deval Patrick convened the ICHH to implement the recommendations issued in January 2008 by the Massachusetts Commission to End Homelessness. The commission proposed to re-design the current system, which requires a significant restructuring of the way services reach the homeless. The commission's vision for individual and family systems included supportive housing, stabilization, prevention, rapid re-housing, linkages to appropriate community supports, and improved economic stability.

"These eight new Networks align Massachusetts with the Federal focus on local strategies framed by a public-private sector collaboration on prevention and intervention using innovative initiatives that will be better for the community, better for the homeless person, and better for the taxpayer," said United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Philip Mangano. "Governor Patrick and Lt. Governor Murray are to be commended for moving the Massachusetts model to the forefront of state responses in ending the long misery of homelessness for our poorest neighbors."

The eight regional networks include: the Department of Neighborhood Development to cover the City of Boston and the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership to cover Metropolitan Boston. The North Shore and Merrimack Valley will cover the North Shore Housing Action Group (North Shore Community Action Programs/Lynn Housing Authority) and Community Teamwork (Lowell). The United Way of Greater Plymouth County will cover the South Shore, while the Housing Assistance Corp (Barnstable) will handle the Cape and Islands. The City of Worcester will cover all of Worcester County and Western Massachusetts will follow the lead of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (Northampton).

"Today's announcement is another important step forward by the Patrick-Murray Administration to put an effective, long-lasting infrastructure in place to ensure that we get the right resources to the right people at the right time," said ICHH executive director Bob Pulster. "In doing so, we will eventually see a dramatic decrease in our homeless population and the need for emergency assistance sheltering."

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