The Bronk’s – Most Fascinating People of 2009

As many of you may know, Walter & Rose Bronk, who head up St. Paul’s Kitchen, here in Lowell were received the Community Teamwork “Heroes” Award this Fall for their generosity and commitment in providing meals to those in need for a dozen years and were previously written about in post here at MVRN .

FEEDING THE HUNGRY: Rose and Walter Bronk volunteer at St. Paul’s Kitchen inside the Eliot Church in Lowell. SUN / TORY GERMANN

This past year, St. Paul’s Kitchen went from serving two meals weekly and three meals every other week; to serving meals Monday through Thursday every week of the month.

The City of Lowell’s Hunger Homeless Commission identified this need in our community, the need of many individuals and families who are housed that do not have adequate food resources and/or lack skills to cook or ill access to cooking facilities.

St. Paul’s Kitchen stepped forward, given the need identified and in coordination with the faith based communities,  various community groups and corporate service groups, they expanded their capacity to serve.

The Bronk’s once again have been recognized, and this time as one the Lowell Sun’s 25  Fascinating Individuals for 2009

The Network wishes to recognize the Bronk’s once again for their commitment to the community of Lowell…Question is, how do we duplicate this across the region???

Congratulations Walter & Rose, you so richly deserve the recognition you’ve been given!

This Week’s Right Resources Bulletin from One Family

This Week’s News from the ICHH Regional Networks and the Right Resources Bulletin Board
December 29, 2009

Innovation in the Spotlight:
Eviction Prevention Partnership Among
the Malden Housing Authority,
Everett Housing Authority, and Housing Families Inc.

Since July 2008, Housing Families Inc. has been working in close partnership with Local Housing Authorities to prevent family evictions and provide personalized support for at-risk families to develop long term housing stabilization plans. The Eviction Prevention Partnership is driven by the fact that preventing families from entering shelter is both financially sound and ethically imperative, as the cost of emergency shelter and the trauma of further dislocation are burdens no one wants to bear.  Targeting eviction prevention services to tenants in public housing and Section 8 is important because if a family is evicted from a LHA they are no longer eligible for EA shelter for 1 year and may have an extremely difficult time accessing subsidized housing again. Eviction prevention also benefits the Local Housing Authority by saving them a great deal of money on the legal costs associated with eviction. Continue reading

Happiest of Holidays from the Merrimack Valley Regional Network

As the Regional Coordinator for the Merrimack Valley Regional Network to
End Homelessness, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and your
families the very best this holiday season.

The Merrimack Valley Regional Network has been very busy since August and
none of what we accomplished could have been done without each and everyone
of you, who have generously and graciously given of your time and your
knowledge to this Network.

To give you an idea as to how far we have come since August to today; in
terms of our impact on families and single homeless men and women across the
Merrimack Valley. Our Network has been able to provide financial support and
case management to 22 single men and women who were previously residing in
emergency shelter or outside in the elements.

Furthermore we have been able to assist 81 families in preventing them from
becoming homeless and/or divert our families from emergency shelters.

A tremendous accomplishment by all of you!
Once again, wishing you the happiest of holidays and many miracles in the
coming year.
Best, Kristin*

Continuum of Care Grant Awards Announced

Record number of local programs to receive funding to keep operating

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is renewing grant funding needed to keep thousands of local homeless assistance programs operating.  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said a total of nearly $1.4 billion will help an unprecedented 6,445 programs to continue offering critically needed housing and services to homeless persons and families.

The grants announced today are being awarded through HUD’s Continuum of Care programs.  For the first time ever, HUD is quickly providing renewal grants to local programs to prevent any interruption in federal assistance and will announce funding to new projects in early 2010.  For a local summary of the grants announced today, visit HUD’s website.

“As we move into the coldest time of the year, it’s critical that no program risk running out of money to keep their doors open,” said Donovan.  “These grants will make certain that those programs on the front lines of helping the homeless have the resources they need to house and serve persons who might otherwise be forced to turn to the streets.” Continue reading

Homelessness & Our Faith Based Communities

Here in Lowell and across the country, our interfaith communities have really provided the foundation to what is known today as Social Services. In days gone by and even today, faith communities come together to support their communities to ensure that their brothers and sisters in faith and in the community are well attended.

Walter Bronk from St. Paul’s Kitchen sent me this article, Churches Open Doors To Homeless, in Troy, NY and Brent Rourke from the SHIFT Coalition sent along some information about the Overnights of Hospitality program in Plymouth, as written about in this article on a Plymouth blog and more information on the  Plymouth’s Thanksgiving Day & Events website.

I do know that this idea has been explored locally by some congregations and insurance issues happened to be the prevailing reason why this type of initiative could not be facilitated. Perhaps a field trip to Plymouth is warranted to see how the Overnights of Hospitality program was created and how we may be able to replicate it in our region?

If any of our partners across the region are aware of any similarly fashioned programs, please let us know..

Cold Winter Months and Our Homeless

In the  Boston Herald, (on 12/19/09) there was an article entitled “After Two Deaths, City Aims to Help Homeless Stay Warm”.

This got me thinking about what we as a city did last year to raise funds to be able to provide “Winter Protocol” or emergency winter beds.

Prior to last year, Lowell Transitional Living Center had provided winter beds without reimbursement or funds to cover the costs of providing (beyond capacity) shelter to folks in our coldest months.

Last year, LTLC had initially opted against offering this service due to funding constraints. To us, as a community, this was simply unacceptable. Continue reading

Community Christmas Dinner ~ Lowell Area

Community Christmas Dinner ~ Lowell Area

Community Christian Fellowship 12/25/09 @ 11am to 2pm

    105 Princeton Blvd.

    Lowell, MA 01851


    Pre- registration is preferred

    Christ Church United in Dracut 12/25/09 @ 1 PM.

      Call 978 459 2022 to reserve your space at the table.


      Pathfinder Outreach Program 12/25/09 @ 12:00 noon

        94 Rock St.

        Lowell, MA

        (homeless men and women)


        St. Paul’s Kitchen 12/24/09 @ 5pm

          Summer St.

          Lowell, MA

          (adults & children)


          Lowell Transitional Living Center

            12/25/09 (lunch) 11:45am to 1pm, (dinner) Supper 5:45p to 6:45pm

            209 Middlesex St.

            Lowell, MA 01852

            This Weeks Right Resource Bulletin ~ One Family

            This Week’s News from the ICHH Regional Networks and the Right Resources Bulletin Board
            December 16, 2009
            Innovation in the Spotlight:
            Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance’s
            Diversion and Rapid Re-Housing Model

            Central Massachusetts Housing Alliances leads the state in its success in decreasing shelter usage and motel usage by families.  In July 2009, 17 Worcester families in the EA system were staying in motels. As a result of CMHA initiatives, by November 19, 2009, there were no Worcester families in the EA system staying in motels anywhere in the state (data provided by DHCD).  Worcester shelters currently have vacancies, due in part to CMHA’s push to achieve an average 90-day shelter stay.  CMHA intends for family shelter to serve only as a temporary safety net, not a long-term solution to family homelessness.  Between July 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009, CMHA diverted 32 families on the brink of entering shelter and helped 88 families leave shelter.  The average cost of a subsidy to re-house a family is $6,000-$8,000 per year, much less than average costs of shelter or motels.  Moreover, 97% of the families receiving shallow subsidies for one year from CMHA remain housed after one year. How has CMHA achieved these results?  Read on. . . Continue reading

            Best & Emerging Practices in Ending Homlessness ~ Changing the Paradigm

            Best and Emerging Practices in Ending Homelessness:
            Changing the Paradigm
            You’re Invited!

            Event Sponsors

            One Family Inc, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation and the ICHH invite you to join us for a forum highlighting best and emerging practices to end family and individual homelessness in Massachusetts.

            When:  Thursday January 28, 2010  9am-5pm

            Where:  The Hogan Center at the College of the Holy Cross 1 College Street, Worcester, MA 01610
            Who:  Members of the ICHH Regional Networks and HPRP Recipients.  This event is targeted toward  the entire community of practice: consumer representatives, front line practitioners, agency and program directors, public housing administrators, among other community leaders.

            Cost:  FREE! Continue reading

            H1N1 Flu Clinic for Adults & Children in Lowell

            FREE ADULT H1N1 Flu Clinic (ages 18 and up)

            Middlesex Community College Cafeteria

            33 Kearney Square

            Lowell, MA

            DATE: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

            TIME:  10AM to 2PM

            No residency requirement

            No pre-registration or appointment necessary

            Parking in Lower Locks Garage will be validated upon leaving the flu clinic (bring your garage ticket with you for validation)

            The Saints clinic December 19th from 9A to 12Noon is still going on as well, but the one for December 22 is new!

            FREE Pedi and ADULT H1N1 Flu Clinic (ages 6 months and up)

            Saints Medical Center

            1 Hospital Drive

            Lowell, MA

            DATE: Saturday, December 19, 2009

            TIME:  9AM to 12noon

            No residency requirement

            No pre-registration or appointment necessary

            As you face the Main Entrance, enter the door to the right.