(BOSTON) – As state lawmakers prepare to receive committee assignments for the 193rd Legislative Session, State Representatives Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and James Hawkins (D-Attleboro) launched the Caucus to End and Prevent Homelessness, a bipartisan coalition of Massachusetts legislators from across the Commonwealth who will engage to learn and inform others about best practices for reducing and ending homelessness, based on evidence and lived experience.
“This caucus adds a new layer to our efforts to address homelessness in the Commonwealth by bringing together elected officials who are committed to the protection of our most vulnerable residents,” said State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “Thank you to Representative Hawkins for spearheading this caucus with me, and I look forward to increased collaboration to address this critical issue in the Commonwealth.”
“Representative Meschino and I have been working together on issues surrounding homelessness,” said State Representative James Hawkins (D-Attleboro). “We recognized the need to collaborate and communicate with our colleagues to address this growing challenge.”
The ultimate goal of the caucus is to create quarterly learning opportunities for Massachusetts legislators with the facts and guidance needed to craft and implement the legislation needed to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring for residents of Massachusetts. Future sessions will cover permanent supportive housing resources, the Commonwealth’s emergency and crisis response system, the impact of trauma as it relates to housing insecurity and homelessness, and the current state of data related to homelessness in Massachusetts.
During today’s initial kickoff meeting, Representatives Meschino and Hawkins introduced United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, who will serve as a facilitator and thought partner when the caucus convenes.
“United Way is proud to help facilitate the House Caucus to End and Prevent Homelessness, which provides a unique opportunity for legislators to develop a shared understanding of the lack of affordable housing in the state and the impact of trauma on individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity,” said Bob Giannino, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “These evidence-based, data-driven opportunities for learning and bipartisan discourse will help us advance legislation to mobilize housing resources and preventative approaches to reduce and end homelessness in the Commonwealth.”
Representative Meschino is continuing to advance homelessness prevention efforts with the filing of An Act to create and implement a Massachusetts flexible supportive housing subsidy pool program (HD.216), which would establish a nimble pot of funds to help support the creation of housing programs that will assist homeless people facing medical challenges and disabilities.
On February 21st, the caucus’ first quarterly convening will address the “Housing First” model and permanent supportive housing resources. Andrew Spiers, Director of Training & Technical Assistance for Housing First University, will be one of the speakers for the session.