Aimee Amri with her clients
The $383K stimulus award that the Brockton Area Multi Services Inc. (BAMSI) received for its Helpline program through a Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing grant has been instrumental in helping 30 families in the Greater Brockton area avoid homelessness.

"The Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing program has been extremely beneficial, "said Aimee Amri, Housing Coordinator for BAMSI Helpline."These

Recovery Act Impact: BAMSI's Helpline Program

  • Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing grant: $383K

  • Saved 30 families from homelessness

  • Provides ongoing case management

families found themselves in a situation, like a loss of a job, and this program helps them not end up in a shelter.

But Amri stressed that Helpline doesn't just give out a blank check. "There is ongoing case management,"

Luis Avelino and Jeffrey Simon
she said. "We connect them with area resources and resources within the organization. We get them back on their feet."

In order to do that, clients are required to use 30 percent of their income towards the rent with the grant subsidizing the rest. As the clients' income increases, they slowly take over the rent. "It helps them be accountable," said Amri. The program also helps the clients secure low income housing.

"Housing is such a basic need," said Vaness Tierney, COO of BAMSI. "Once people can stabilize their housing, our organization can stabilize everything else.

Aimee Amri and her clients
BAMSI is so big so we can hook them up with other programs."

For Vitalina Kiser, this was the case. A single mother with four children, Kiser has a job but the salary wasn't covering all of her rent. "I work but I don't have enough," said Kiser. "I went to Aimee and she said don't cry, everything will be okay."

It was. "Vitalina was really stressed out but she was a prefect candidate for this program," said Amri. "She had been working for 10 years and she had a prior housing history. This is the kind of case where a little bit of assistance can get them back on their feet."

As is the case of Jose Luis Avelino, who had worked for Reebok for 12 years before quitting to open his own restaurant. Avelino also owned a four-family home but when his restaurant failed, he, his wife and their three kids lost their home. He

BAMSI Helpline
did get another job working for an electrician but about a year ago he was laid off. "My boss told me to go to BAMSI," he said. "I was looking for a job but I couldn't find one. I was starting to feel down but Aimee picked me up."

"Luis had a lot and he lost everything," said Amri. "This is an example of how this program inspires and motivates people. We fixed his housing issue and we see a family that was without hope and with despair become better."

Avelino agrees. "This is a country where everyone has a dream," he said. "I look for work all over. The stimulus money helped me. Now my family is living under one roof."