Over the past 4-6 weeks it has been very well covered in our local newspapers, the effort to close down our homeless tent sites here in the City of Lowell. Community Teamwork, in partnership with Lowell Transitional Living Center and Eliot Community Health Services were set about the task of informing homeless men and women who resided in make shift camps throughout the city, that they had a certain amount of time to seek services that were/are offered to move out of homelessness. The property owners had engaged contractors to go in and clean up their properties. The properties they resided belonged to various entities: National Grid, an iron works company, an auto body company, the MBTA, Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Conservation & Recreation, UMASS Lowell and many others.
The first wave was documented in an earlier post – here
Since then our teams have traveled into the woods, down the rail road tracks, along the river and under bridges to seek out our un-sheltered homeless men and women.
In careful coordination with agencies listed above, we have currently identified 40 individuals who were/are un-sheltered in our community. We were able to work through our records and identify those that were in fact homeless and those were not in fact homeless – but used those spaces “recreationally”.
Of the 40 individuals identified, we have collaboratively re-housed 14 men and women. Five were re-housed utilizing ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) funding, six were re-housed using private fundraising dollars, two were re-housed using a combination of ASO (Aggressive Street Outreach) funds and private fundraising dollars. One was re-housed utilizing her own income. In addition to rehousing we were able to put in place supportive services for those men and women, medical/psychiatric care and representative payee services in some cases.
The remaining 26 are various stages of service engagement with a seven men and women who sought out detox treatment right away and now able to access services at Lowell Transitional Living Center, two individuals moved onto another shelter down river, one moved onto a Veterans shelter in Boston and the remaining have found other living arrangements for themselves (staying with family/friends) or have moved to other outside spaces that we have not yet identified.
While this may be a messy process at times, in the end – our community, their lives (for the most part) are better for these efforts.