Initiative to help individuals save for housing
“During these difficult times, we are proud to recognize 9 program participants who have transitioned out of homelessness”, announced the partnership comprised of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Friends of Boston’s Homeless and Mass Bay Credit Union.
The Housing Savings Account program is designed to help individuals experiencing homelessness overcome the foundational life-rebuilding challenges of saving money and securing housing. Here’s how it works: the Serving Ourselves (SOS) program, a workforce development program in the BPHC’s Homeless Services Bureau, assists individuals experiencing homelessness by providing educational resources, work opportunities in the food services and janitorial sectors, and individual case management to support participants obtaining permanent employment in the community. Through this partnership, interested program participants open a housing savings account with Mass Bay Credit Union. Mass Bay provides access to financial tools and educational resources to these individuals and maintains direct contact with them along their way.
When the participants secure housing, the BPHC notifies Mass Bay CU and Friends of Boston’s Homeless. At that point, the three partners combine to match the amount the participant saved, doubling their savings account. Mass Bay Credit Union pledged $5,000 in funds through the Mass Bay Credit Union Charitable Foundation.
Mariann Bucina Roca, Friends of Boston’s Homeless Executive Director, shared, “This is an innovative partnership where the public, private, and non-profit sectors come together to bring about change. Together we are helping those experiencing homelessness reach their goal of achieving financial and housing independence.”
“Helping people secure housing is a perfect example of the credit union ideal of ‘people helping people,’” says Terry Dorilas, Mass Bay CEO. “Our goal here is to help our members and continue to be a strong partner in the community. So far, 9 individuals have received matching funds,” she notes and adds, “At Mass Bay, giving personal attention to our members is our primary focus.”
Stephanie Rodriguez, Career Center Manager with the Boston Public Health Commission Homeless Services Bureau shared the following success story: After becoming disconnected from family, Robert was eager to reintegrate into society and applied for the SOS program. Always working with a smile, he sought out opportunities to assist other program participants, worked additional shifts, and applied for work opportunities in the community. Through his efforts, Robert received full time employment at a major delivery company earning well above living wage and was able to request the full match upon being housed. Robert was able to obtain financial independence and housing in five months by participating in SOS and the Housing Savings Accounts (HSA) program.
About The Partners
The Boston Public Health Commission, the country’s oldest health department, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by the Mayor of Boston. Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of collaboration – to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Friends of Boston’s Homeless supports solutions-oriented programs with proven track records that help people transition from the streets and shelters into safe, dignified housing and reclaim their lives. The final transition steps out of homelessness are often the most crucial, and this program can help make them happen.
In addition to its South Boston Headquarters, Mass Bay Credit Union has branches in Everett, Quincy, and the Seaport. Over 19,000 people choose Mass Bay Credit Union for great rates, low fees, and personal service. In addition to offering a full array of deposit and lending products, Mass Bay Credit Union Members have access to over 55,000 surcharge free ATMs and 6,800 credit union branches. In business since 1936, Mass Bay Credit Union has assets in excess of $275 million. Through its Charitable Foundation, Mass Bay Credit Union carries out many initiatives throughout the year to benefit the people and communities they serve.