What is the problem?
Almost 400 people were counted as experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2018. That’s 400 too many.
The City of New Bedford’s Point In Time Count or “PIT” is an annual census of both sheltered and unsheltered adults and children who are experiencing homelessness in New Bedford. When the count was taken in 2018, it revealed that of the 400 counted, there are, on average, roughly 50 people without any kind of shelter whatsoever, sleeping outside, in cars, in abandoned buildings and in places not meant for human habitation. Unfortunately there are not enough emergency beds available in the city on the coldest nights forcing many homeless individuals to struggle for survival on the streets.
Homelessness is a complex issue that impacts those who are often characterized as an invisible part of our community. Anyone—anyone—can find themselves experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness includes folks who have experienced devastating medical expenses, lost their income through no fault of their own, are struggling with behavioral health and addiction issues, living with mental illness and those who have escaped domestic violence or sexual exploitation. Men, women, children, black, or white…homelessness does not discriminate and there is no easy fix. Those experiencing homelessness need more than just a warm bed; they need compassionate access to health care, food, clothing, education, employment opportunities and permanent housing.
What is Rise Up For Homes?
Rise Up for Homes is a collaborative campaign established by the members of the City of New Bedford’s Homeless Service Providers Network [HSPN] designed to build community awareness as well as raise funds to meet the complex needs of homeless individuals and families in our community. We are working to change the narrative about homelessness, to present facts and conversation to create innovative solutions to the problem and to ensure everyone has a voice in this process.
The Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford, a non-profit 501(c)3 serves as the fiscal conduit for of all money raised by the campaign. The HSPN’s Executive Committee governs all distributions and provides careful oversight of the funds.
Who is involved?
The City of New Bedford’s Homeless Service Providers Network (HSPN) is a “continuum of care” or “CoC” network collaborative of more than 40 organizations founded in 1996. The New Bedford CoC has secured millions of dollars in federal grants leveraged with private funding over the years. The group is made up of local agencies, community organizations, private sector businesses, faith based leadership and individual community members all committed to collaboration in ensuring a pathway to prevent and end homelessness. Out of the HSPN came Rise Up for Homes.
How does your donation help?
By supporting this campaign, you acknowledge that the present system does not meet the entire need our area faces in ensuring emergency shelter and long term affordable housing. Your donation will help us open a cold weather shelter this winter to get folks out of freezing temperatures and into safety and warmth. Your dollars will help us improve and create better access to emergency shelter, access to prevention services and create more affordable housing solutions for people in need while ensuring we are getting the best information out to those in greatest need about the shelter, housing and services available to them.
We now encourage you to personally get involved and be part of the change you want to see in our community.
Facts About Homelessness in New Bedford:
The City of New Bedford’s annual Point In Time (PIT) Count is conducted each year in January to determine how many people are experiencing homelessness in New Bedford on a given day.
The 2018 PIT Count identified 398 adults and children in New Bedford who were experiencing homelessness on just one day; 49 of those individuals were physically homeless, sleeping outside and in places not meant for human habitation. This is a slight increase (13%) from the 2017 PIT Count in New Bedford where 352 adults and children were counted.
In 2018 the Count classified 14 of those 49 who were physically homeless as “unaccompanied youth” meaning those under age 25 experiencing homelessness and not with any parent or legal guardian. The total number of unaccompanied youth has continued to increase over the past five years although only one of the 14 counted was unsheltered.
Adult households (individual households) continue to represent the majority of household type experiencing homelessness in New Bedford, yet households with children (family households) continue to increase each year. In 2018 the total number of households experiencing homelessness was 219, where 162 were adult households as compared with 57 family households that included children.
Although the majority of adult households experiencing homelessness are comprised of individuals who are severely mentally ill and/or dealing with substance abuse issues, a significant number of adults are veterans and/or victims of domestic violence.
The City of New Bedford, through its Department of Planning, Housing & Community Development (DPHCD), provides federal resources to prevent and end homelessness including funding from Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), the HOME Program, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Continuum of Care (CoC) Competition. These funds are competitively awarded to a range of agencies to ensure that the maximum amount of affordable housing opportunities, shelter beds and needed resources are made available.