Housing Families will open a new shelter for homeless individuals at the OYO Hotel in Malden in early February, the result of close collaboration between the City of Malden, Malden Redevelopment Authority, Malden’s legislative delegation, and several nonprofit partners. Housing Families, a Malden-based housing services organization, has provided emergency shelter for families for nearly 35 years, but this will be their first shelter for adult individuals. The 22-bed shelter will house individuals from the Metro North region, with priority given to Malden residents.
Malden and its neighboring cities have long lacked an individual shelter, and the local need has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Because congregate shelters have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19, Housing Families’ new shelter provides each individual with a private room and bathroom to ensure social distancing and reduce COVID-19 transmission.
This shelter project was organized and coordinated by the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) along with Housing Families, Eliot Community Human Services, the Malden Warming Center, Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)’s Malden mobile outreach team, Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), and Bread of Life, with active support from the City of Malden and Metro North Housing. Together, these agencies secured resources for the individual shelter, including case workers, food from Bread of Life, and a pool of rapid rehousing funds to help homeless individuals transition to permanent housing. The shelter and rapid rehousing efforts will supplement the City of Malden’s coordinated response to COVID-induced housing instability, which already includes rental assistance, court-based eviction prevention, and a local moratorium on eviction enforcement in most cases. As part of the rapid rehousing services, shelter occupants will have access to financial assistance necessary to secure long-term housing, including rental assistance and security deposits, They will also receive social services and case management supports.
Housing Families and the City worked with State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representatives Paul Donato, Steve Ultrino, and Kate Lipper-Garabedian to secure funding through the state Department of Housing and Community Development. That combination of legislative advocacy and municipal support makes the project feels truly community-supported, says Housing Families CEO Laura Rosi. “It was inspirational to see housing services providers, the City of Malden, and our local legislators come together to make this project happen. We are both grateful and proud of the dignified temporary housing that we will be providing and that will benefit the health of the individuals we serve and the community.” said Ms. Rosi. “This pandemic has allowed us to see that now, more than ever, access to housing is essential for the safety of individuals, families, and for society as a whole.”
“This shelter, which opens during one of Malden’s darkest winters, shows the collective power of our community coming together to support our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Malden Mayor Gary Christenson. “This project is possible due to the tremendous collaboration between my office, Ward Councillor Jadeane Sica and MRA staff, along with our state legislators, and nonprofit leaders, including Housing Families. We are proud to support this much-needed shelter in our community.
“This shelter is a vital component of the housing stability safety net the City and MRA have built since the pandemic began,” said MRA Executive Director Deborah Burke. “Our rental assistance and court-based eviction prevention programs help keep people from becoming homeless, and now this shelter will serve people experiencing homelessness and help them secure permanent housing.”
Individuals experiencing homelessness can request services by contacting Tom Southerton, Housing Families’ Program Manager during business hours at 781-322-9119 ext. 159. The Malden Warming Center, located at 529 Eastern Avenue in Malden, will also act as an intake site for this shelter and individuals interested in staying at the shelter can visit the warming center for more information. Transportation to the shelter will be provided and Bread of Life will supply the shelter residents with three meals a day. This shelter is for adult individuals only and families with children who are experiencing homelessness should contact the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at 781-388-7300.
Housing Families was founded in 1986 in an effort to end family homelessness. We provide safe, temporary shelter and quality affordable housing to homeless and at-risk families, offering individualized supportive services to enrich children’s lives, nurture the potential of each family member, and help families maintain permanent housing. Housing Families operates a nationally recognized eviction prevention program and a housing stabilization program and has grown into one of the largest operators of affordable housing for homeless and low-income families in Massachusetts. For more information on Housing Families and our services, visit housingfamilies.org