Over the past several years the number of families and individuals faced with a housing crisis that could lead to homeless has escalated. Since the beginning of the Great Recession, Massachusetts has lost approximately 153,000 jobs, and unemployment has risen from 4.5% to 9.4%. This job loss has been unevenly distributed, with the brunt of the effects being felt by households in the lower 30% of the income distribution.
Reaching these household early in the housing and income crisis is often the one key that can halt or delay the spiral into homelessness. The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless over the past eight years has challenged itself to find innovative ways to reach at risk households very early on in their housing crisis, by embedding its homeless prevention services into non-traditional settings. By partnering with community health centers, public schools, and early intervention home visiting programs, we have been able to bring prevention resources to low-incomes families and individuals where they are already receiving services.
The HomeLink Initiative is designed to work with community health centers, public school districts and early intervention workers to help identify households that are having a housing crisis and then offer quick assistance to ensure that they remain stably housed. HomeLink offers comprehensive homelessness prevention and housing assistance through intensified case management, housing search, and landlord tenant mediation services to at-risk families and individuals. By embedding these prevention services in the health care centers, public schools and early intervention home visiting programs used by low-income households on a daily basis, the HomeLink Initiative has created a seamless entry point to link at-risk households with existing service systems and mainstream resources that can help them stabilize their housing situations, avoiding homelessness.
HomeLink Community Partners
Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, www.bnhc.org
Codman Square Community Health Center, www.codman.org
Dorchester House Multi Service Center, www.dorchesterhouse.org
Lynn Community Health Center, www.lchcnet.org *Click here for a flyer in English and Spanish about our Housing 101 workshop at the Lynn Community Health Center on Friday, September 19, 2014.*
North Shore Infant and Toddler Development Program, www.massfamilyties.org
Northeast Arc - Family Support Services, Early Intervention, www.ne-arc.org
Thom Metro Boston Early Intervention Program, www.thomchild.org