Home Again: Only a Home Ends Homelessness
May 2008

Home Again: Only a Home Ends Homelessness 
Working With the Community to End Adult Chronic Homelessness in the Greater Worcester Area
Home Again News May 2008
Quick Links
 
 
Welcome to another edition of Home Again News.  This month we are updating you on the progress of some of the Home Again participants who are seeing improvements in their quality of life now that they have a stable home and support services.
 
We also have a link to the 2008 Point-in-Time Survey released by the Central Mass Housing Alliance that shows that there are fewer homeless individuals living on the streets of Worcester, which CMHA chair, Grace Carmark, credits to community-based programs like Home Again.
 
There is a growing support in the human service sector and government for the "housing first" model.  We are also seeing increasing support in the media such as the recent Boston Globe editorial , which we have linked to here and on our website that seeks great funding for programs based on "housing first."
 
We thank you for your continued interest in Home Again and please feel free to forward this newsletter to those you think would appreciate learning more about housing first and Home Again.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brooke Doyle
 
Home Again Project Director

 

Home Again Participants Making Progress

 

The first Home Again participants have been doing very well in their new homes.  Living in apartment units throughout Worcester, the participants have been able to stabilize their lives, and are taking great pride in getting on the path to a better quality of life as well as contributing back to the program.

 

Providing our participants with a stable home is working.  They are eagerly taking advantage of many of the services we provide to improve their health - some for the first time since becoming homeless.  Participants are telling us that it is much easier, and that they are more committed to improving the their lives, now that they have a stable home and a case manager to call on at any time.

 

In the short time they have been with Home Again, some of the participants have stabilized their lives to the point that they are now looking for opportunities to volunteer and help others.  They are also taking an interest in learning things we may take for granted, like basic cooking, to help their adjustment to living in a home and enjoying life in their communities.

 
Some of the participants have been through such adversity living on the streets and trying to seek help that they still cannot believe that we are offering them a home and the services they need. We are very happy to demonstrate that the community does care about them and that we are there to help them stay off the streets and enjoy a better life.
 
 

Read more about the goals of Home Again

 Ed's Story: A Participant Talks About Being Part of Home Again

Six weeks ago, Ed moved into a permanent home as a Home Again participant after almost twenty years of being homeless. His addiction to drugs caused him to live on the streets, but it was his sense of dignity that led him to seek help at Community Healthlink to break out of the cycle of chronic homelessness.
 
Living in his new apartment has given Ed a new perspective on life.  "It gives me dignity," he says.   "It's a whole different lifestyle...before, it was all about survival, now it's about maintaining."
 
Ed's sense of dignity is helped by the fact that his quality of life has already been improved by even the simplest of measures.  "I've put on some good weight," he says.  "And I dress better, I've got a few changes of clothes now...I don't ever want to look homeless again."
 
He credits the support services he receives through the Home Again program and his case manager for keeping him "on the straight and narrow" as he says.  "It's a positive, positive place...the support system is fantastic...they have their eye on you like I've never had before...it keeps you on the up and up."
 
One of Ed's first requests was that do something to help others.  Today, he is volunteering at Community Healthlink.  "It's therapeutic for me, it gives me a sense of purpose," he says.
 
Even though he has the keys in his hand, Ed still can't believe he has a place of his own to call home.  "After living on the streets for close to 20 years I finally feel safe and secure."  The combination of the home and support services provided by Home Again has already made a profound change on him.  "It's incredible," he says.  "I'm enjoying it... It's like I'm transformed...I can feel myself growing every day."


 

Community-based Programs Helping Reduce Number of Homeless Individuals on Worcester Streets

 

The Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance released their annual Point-in-Time Survey of the homeless populations in the City of Worcester and the Worcester area.  CMHA chair Grace Carmark credits community-based collaborative programs created by Community Healthlink and SMOC for reducing the number of chronically homeless individuals living on the streets.

 

 The Boston Globe: Fund Housing First Projects

The Boston Globe editorialized in favor of funding homelessness programs using the housing first model. Housing first, which provides chronically homeless people with permanent homes and needed support services, has been proven successful in a number of communities across the country and Massachusetts. 
 
 

Perspectives: Dr. Jan Yost

Read a profile of Home Again Steering Committee and Advisory Council members Dr. Jan Yost who is also the president of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.

About Home Again
 
Home Again has created and implemented a model program that will reduce the number of chronically and pre-chronically homeless adults who live on the streets, consistently use emergency shelters and rely on emergency rooms for all their medical needs. Home Again serves chronically and pre-chronically homeless adults by providing them immediately with permanent housing, community-based support services, and a case management staff who assist with access to health care, mental health and employment services.
 

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