Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan announced today that the City of Springfield is awarding $3.5 million in grant funding to four Springfield agencies to provide increased services to people experiencing homelessness. The federal CARES Act provided the City with an increased allocation of Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds to respond to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The funds awarded today will provide a continuum of services including street outreach, emergency shelter, housing search, and rental assistance.
Mayor Sarno stated, “Shelters have had to reduce capacity to comply with the public health and social distancing requirements, and we have seen an increase in street homelessness as a result. Homelessness is a complicated issue that encompasses everything from loss of employment and/or family to mental health to drug use issues. These grants will help to move these individuals off the streets and help them get on a path to stable housing, but also assist our police department, who many a times are the initial contact for assistance and/or criminal activity in order to survive. We will continue to be proactive and compassionate on this issue.”
The agencies receiving funds are:
Clinical and Support Options – Friends of the Homeless
New North Citizens Council (NNCC)
YWCA of Western Massachusetts
Catholic Charities has partnered with Mercy Medical Center to provide street outreach, placement from the streets into hotel rooms on an emergency basis, social work and behavioral health care supports and referrals, and housing search and rental assistance.
Friends of the Homeless is funded to provide assistance to people who are seeking shelter but must be turned away due to lack of space.
NNCC will provide homelessness prevention assistance for those most at risk of becoming homeless.
The YWCA will provide prevention services, emergency shelter, housing search and rental assistance to survivors of domestic violence or human trafficking.
Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan stated, “Springfield has recognized since the onset of the virus that containing its impacts within the homeless population is a critical part of the City’s response to COVID-19 and the programming provided by these highly qualified organizations will further enhance the City’s efforts in this regard”.
“We are especially pleased to be able to provide support for survivors of domestic violence,” said Gerry McCafferty, Springfield’s Director of Housing. “The shut-down and stress due to COVID-19 has resulted in more people seeking assistance due to domestic violence, and these funds provide an opportunity to get them to safety.”