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July Newsletter

Cards4aCause

Hi Folks,

Thank you for reading Cards4aCause’s July newsletter. This newsletter focuses on Mayor Marty Walsh’s 2014 plan to end veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness in the city of Boston by 2018. However first, some important updates about Cards4aCause!

Cards4aCause is still working with Second Step Shelter in Newton and First Church Shelter in Harvard Square. Since March, Cards4aCause has been supporting 30 individuals or families with $20 gift cards each month. Currently, cards are from CVS or a grocery store, such as Stop and Shop.

The fall fundraising season is just around the corner! A heads up that we will be hosting our annual fundraiser as well as some other events that people can support to help Cards4aCause continue its work, so stay tuned for that!

Please support us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/Cards4acause-713259682123686/

In 2014, Boston’s mayor unveiled an ambitious plan to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and to end chronic homelessness by 2018. The “action plan” starts with an outline of the current situation Boston faces in regards to homelessness. The data used is from the 2015 count submitted to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and from the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment. According to these sources, there are currently 1,720 single individuals who are in emergency shelter in Boston as well as 319 people who are sleeping on the streets. 66% of individuals stay in shelters for 30 days or less. There are 600 chronically homeless individuals in Boston. However, there has been a downward trend in the overall rate of chronic homeless individuals. It has been lowered by 14% since 2007. This evidence brings the plan to it’s hopeful premise: these numbers are small enough to bring Boston’s number of chronically homeless individuals to a virtual zero by 2018. The next question is how? This plan can be broken down into four main sections: Front Door Triage, Coordinated Access, Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing.

Front Door Triage: This is the immediate response when a person becomes homeless or enters emergency shelter. It is based around an emergency room model of triage care. That means that there is differential treatment based on need.

Coordinated Access: This is an online program that would match an individual to a housing location. A centralized system to organize the process of finding a place to sleep.

Rapid Rehousing: This step is simply giving people what they need. Finding people suffering from homelessness the services that they need for as long as they need them so that they can create a stable household. Finding someone a stable income is often a first step so that they can remain housed. One of the ways Boston can help is by increasing the number of applicants who receive federal and state money for a number of entitlement and benefit programs.

Permanent Supportive Housing: This support system will be used in complex and extremely difficult circumstances to stabilize households. It combines subsidized housing and high levels of support and intervention to get people into a safe, comfortable space.

Imagine a scenario where someone, let’s say, Mary entered this system. She has been domestically abused for two years. She left her husband recently and now has no place to go. She stays at a emergency shelter in Boston. She receives support based on her need and then is matched with a vacancy in the city. She then receives counseling and support to overcome her past trauma and sustain herself. She moves into permanent housing. Mary, may not be in need of an increased level of support, but if she was she would receive the necessary services.

Marty Walsh’s four step plan covers significantly more than I have outlined including how to specifically support young people, women, people with substance abuse issues and more. He also outlines goals for combating veteran homelessness. Here is the link to his plan so you can learn more: http://www.cityofboston.gov/dnd/PDFs/An%20Action%20Plan%20to%20End%20Veteran%20and%20Chronic%20Homelessness%20in%20Boston%202015-2018.pdf

Time and time again, I ask myself how Cards4aCause could help someone like Mary. It would take a plan like Walsh’s and millions of dollars to even make a dent in the chronic homelessness plaguing Boston. However, it is extremely important for me to remember why I started Cards4aCause: I wanted to make someone’s life better, in whatever way I could. I wanted to let someone have a little piece of their dignity and control back by letting them decide what they needed. So I am asking you to help me, help Mary make her situation a little bit better. Please make a contribution today to Cards4aCause. Visit our website, click on the donate button and be as generous as you can. Your financial gift or a gift card will help us continue our rewarding work of helping individuals suffering from homelessness.

Thank you,

Joanna Munson-Palomba & Cards4aCause