Homeless shelters remain full during summer months

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Shelters like Friends of the Homeless are hoping the new state budget will deliver much-needed funding to continue their mission.

On bitterly cold winter nights, we often think about those people in our community who aren’t fortunate enough to live in a warm home of their own. But even when the seasons change and the temperature rises, homelessness doesn’t go away. This year Springfield’s Friends of the Homeless Shelter has already given 1000 people a place to stay.

When it comes to funding, Friends of the Homeless receives some of the lowest in the state to provide shelter overnight per person. Their theory: homelessness isn’t an overnight issue. That’s why for the past four years they’ve provided day services so people can meet with case workers so people can move toward more permanent housing and employment.

“It’s an outdated notion to just have a shelter and take them in at night and in the morning send them down the street with all their worldly possessions on their back. That is a situation that just perpetuates itself. It’s not good for them it’s not good for the city,” said Director Bill Miller.

Friends of the Homeless needs state support to continue providing those daytime resources — to help people like Jorge Quinonez, who for six months has been working to get back on his feet and regain custody of his children.

“The shelter does provide you the tools. It’s provided me the tools to go out there and look for jobs. The jobs I’ve gotten an interview for they ask if I fluently speak English and I don’t,” Quinones said.

House and Senate lawmakers right now are working on the final version of Massachusetts’ Fiscal 2015 budget, which should include funding for housing programs and record-high local aid.

The shelter is hosting an event at Forest Park on June 16, which is designed to generate both money for the shelter and awareness of the problem of homelessness. Click here for more information.

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