Annual Forum on Homeless Families, at First Parish in Bedford on Sunday, March 1

February 18, 2015
These figures represent Massachusetts’ state-wide caseload from January, 2008 through October, 2014 – Courtesy image

If you learned that a family lost their home as a result of job loss, escape from domestic violence, divorce, or natural disaster –  would you know how to help?

Every night about 3,100 families seek homeless shelters and 1,850 additional families continue to stay in motels with great risk to their children’s health and development, according to state Department of Housing and Community Development data.

A local group, Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness, presents their 11th Annual Forum on Family Homelessness on Sunday Mar 1, 2:30 – 4:30 PM at First Parish in Bedford. With more than 100 attendees expected, speakers will describe innovative strategies to assist homeless families, including programs to obtain and maintain employment, and focusing on advocacy efforts with the greatest impact.

The program varies from presentations on experiences with local support and efforts to stabilize homeless families:

  • Drawing locally from the Bedford, MA community, Ann Guay and Sue Baldauf from the Bedford Housing Task Force will present “Homelessness Comes to Bedford: How a Community Responds.”
  • Focusing on economic stabilization, Sher Omerovic will describe the Secure Jobs Partnership, Jewish Vocational Services, Greater Boston, that provides families with resources to find and maintain employment.
  • Addressing employment challenges, Jessica Cohen and Connie Martin from the Secure Jobs Program, Community Teamwork, Inc., Greater Lowell, will discuss the topic, “Eliminating Barriers to Employment.”

Secure Jobs is a program funded by the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, a Boston-based foundation started in 1998 by former Reebok chief executive Paul Fireman and his wife Phyllis to address family homelessness. The program provides grants to social service organizations in Massachusetts to enable job skills training and job placement.

The forum begins with an opportunity to meet local leaders of area homelessness and housing organizations from 2 – 2:30 pm. Area Massachusetts lawmakers will also attend with comments on legislative efforts to address family homelessness.

For more information, see

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Janet Breslau
February 24, 2015 9:41 pm

You might want to note that this event is at First Parish Unitarian Universalist, on the common, not at First Church Congregational. It’s an easy mistake to make.

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