May 8, 2018, NEWBURYPORT, MA – Many of us sleep comfortably, even on the coldest winter nights, believing that our community’s most vulnerable individuals and families can find some sort of sanctuary in a local shelter. But, do we even know where the local shelters are, or have we ever considered how shelters work? How much work they require? And if they’re able to meet the full demand? On May 23 at 7 pm, two social service leaders will speak about homeless shelters at the Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport in a discussion presented by HOPE in Action in conjunction with Pennies for Poverty. The public is invited. Major Todd Hughes from The Salvation Army and Leslie Lawrence, Associate Director of Emmaus Inc. are to discuss important aspects of sheltering the homeless – from cold weather shelters to individual and family shelters. Based on the speakers’ experience, topics of discussion include how people become homeless, what it is like to stay in a shelter, what challenges shelter operators face, how people get out of shelter life and what the community can do to help. Major Hughes, who runs the emergency and cold weather shelter in Newburyport, will share his experience during the extreme cold this past winter when he opened the shelter for people who had nowhere to go. Ms. Lawrence, who oversees Emmaus Inc.’s work to help the homeless through emergency shelters, affordable housing, job training, and more will provide insight into preventing homelessness and ways in which towns like ours can best serve people who don’t have a stable home. Ms. Lawrence states, “The rules confronting people facing housing insecurity when trying to access Federal and State assistance programs are complex. We’ve recently hired an outreach worker to help us connect with people at imminent risk of homelessness and link them with programs that can help stabilize their housing. But if they can’t, shelters are a critical safety net within our communities.” This is the fifth in a series of community meetings examining homelessness in Greater Newburyport presented by HOPE in Action in conjunction with Pennies for Poverty. Other meetings have explored the YWCA’s annual homeless count, a program in Peabody for housing families, the realities of a day shelter in Gloucester, and the challenges educators face in supporting homeless students.
For information, contact:
HOPE in Action 978-609-1472 firstname.lastname@example.org