Which Foundation is Leading the Charge Against Homelessness in Massachusetts?

If one foundation takes a stand, others will follow suit for a worthy cause in due time. Or at least that's the hope. The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation is known for its aggressive approach to tackling homelessness in the Boston metropolitan area and throughout Massachusetts. And the successful results of the Fireman Foundation's dedication to the cause is finally inspiring others to chip in end the homelessness epidemic. (Read Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation).

The Fireman Foundation recently awarded a $304,000 grant to the Corporation for Public Management, which is the top agency in the Western Homeless Employment Network. Between February and October 2013, this grant funded a Secure Jobs Connect program that enrolled 73 homeless people enrolled, placing 43 people into jobs. Now those formerly homeless individuals are pursuing successful careers in retail, manufacturing, accounting, and healthcare.

In December 2013, the homeless agency network received an additional $230,000 in state grants. Agency leaders predict that these funds will help at least 70 homeless people in Western Massachusetts find jobs. This is all part of a larger $1.7 million pool of money coming from Massachusetts' Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development that is funding similar projects around the state.

Ken Demers is the man in charge over at the Corporation for Public Management, and he's said that the recent grant will help homeless people in all four counties in the western part of the state. “Anyone who is homeless will be eligible for this program,” he says. “We'll be pulling in referrals from pretty much everywhere.”

Here's what the grant money will be going towards more specifically:

  • Access to career exploration
  • Skills training
  • Education
  • Job readiness training
  • Job placement
  • Support for self-sufficiency

Basically, the goal of this type of programming is to get homeless people trained in jobs that pay a livable wage to support their families. “Sometimes all it takes is a job for a homeless person to become a self-reliant tenant,” says Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary for the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Sometimes it takes training and a bit of help for a person to find that job.”