September 28, 2009– Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today the names of two local agencies receiving the federal Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds in the amount of $1.7 million. The funds, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provide the City with new resources to prevent and end homelessness for individuals and families.
The award recipients are HAP, Inc., and Catholic Charities. HAP, Inc., began providing housing assistance to the people of Hampden and Hampshire Counties in 1973. Originally established to provide innovative forms of assistance to families seeking to rent decent, safe housing, HAP has provided a wide range of services to tenants, homebuyers, homeowners, and rental property owners. Catholic Charities seeks to provide necessary assistance to those in need, raise public awareness about poverty and justice through programs and services.
The level of family homelessness has been increasing dramatically throughout the nation and in Springfield, and there are currently over 250 Springfield families in emergency shelter and motel rooms. Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated that “these funds will be used to fund new approaches to family homelessness, including assisting families about to enter shelter with better solutions to their housing crisis, and working to quickly re-house families that do enter shelter.” “The funds will also support families in developing long-term strategies to keep stable housing,” stated Sarno. “Over the past three years, Springfield has reduced the rate of homelessness among single individuals by 18% by using new strategies and the HPRP funds enable us to begin to use new strategies to assist families,” added Sarno.
The City’s Acting Housing Director Geraldine McCafferty stated that “These funds are much needed in this economic environment.” “In addition, they give us the opportunity to create a new system to help families respond to housing emergencies,” stated McCafferty.
Former Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Philip F. Mangano, has praised the City’s efforts to end homelessness and has said that Springfield’s efforts have become a model for other cities of its size in reducing homelessness and combating homelessness on the streets.
One of Springfield’s effective responses to homelessness has been Project Homeless Connect, an event which allows homeless families and individuals the opportunity to access multiple service providers in one place, on one day. This year’s event will be held at the MassMutual Center on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009, from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., and will focus particularly on homeless families.