New “Friends of SHA” program stimulates public/private partnerships to help improve the quality of life in Springfield
November 23, 2009 – A new Springfield Housing Authority (SHA) program is off to a fast start with a donation from its first friend. The MassMutual Financial Group was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation at the November SHA Board of Directors meeting for its donation of $15,000 toward the Robinson Gardens Improvement Project. The Friends of SHA is a new program aimed at encouraging public/private partnerships to improve the quality of life, education, and job opportunities for Springfield residents.
“The Friends of SHA program is a way for us to enhance the lives of our residents and the broader community,” stated SHA Executive Director William Abrashkin. “By funding the Robinson Gardens Improvement Project, The MassMutual Financial Group has helped us achieve both of those objectives in a very real way. Improvements to our properties have a significant positive impact for our residents and our neighbors.” Mr. Abrashkin noted that, once the project was completed in October, neighbors began contacting his office to tell him what a positive impact the improvements were having on the immediate area.
The MassMutual Financial Group donation allowed the SHA to purchase new signage, hire a landscape architect, and landscape the grounds that face the intersection of Bay Street and Berkshire Avenue. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority has also agreed to install a new bus shelter adjacent to the landscaped property.
The SHA hopes to identify other similar needs around the City and develop similar public/private partnerships to address them. “The partnership with the MassMutual Financial Group has really given us a great start. It not only gave the concept of public/private partnerships a vote of confidence, it also allowed us to prove such partnerships work,” Mr. Abrashkin noted.
The Springfield Housing Authority (SHA), Massachusetts' third largest housing authority, was established in 1946. Today, the SHA is the largest property owner in the region with more than 2,300 housing units spread over 27 separate sites. It also provides over 200 Massachusetts Rental Vouchers and more than 2,400 Housing Choice Vouchers. With an annual budget of $33.5 million, Chairman of the Board Timothy Babcock, has said that the SHA will continue its commitment to be a strong partner with the city of Springfield in the effort to enhance the quality of life and improve the area's economy.