What is the problem?
More than 700 adults and children experience homelessness every year within the City of New Bedford, and on any given night its estimated that at least 50 people are without any kind of shelter whatsoever, sleeping outside, in cars, in abandoned buildings...wherever they can. 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 an invisible part of our community and anyone—anyone—can find themselves experiencing homelessness. Homelessness includes folks who have lost their income through no fault of their own; it includes those struggling with behavioral health and addiction issues, those with mental illness and those who have escaped domestic violence or sexual exploitation. Men, women, children, black, or white…homelessness does not discriminate and it’s not an easy thing to fix. Those experiencing homelessness need more than just a warm bed; they need access to health care, food, clothing, education and 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.
Who is involved?
The HSPN is a collaborative of more than 30 organizations that has been in existence since 1996. The group has secured millions of dollars in federal grants over the years and currently houses and provides services to more than 700 New Bedford families and individuals each year. The group is made up of local agencies committed to collaboration in addressing episodic and chronic homelessness and ensuring a pathway to ending homelessness.
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.
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:
- An annual Point In Time count is conducted each year in January to determine how many people are experiencing homelessness in New Bedford on a given day.
- The 2015 Point In Time identified 437 adults and children in New Bedford who were experiencing homelessness on just one day; 50 of those individuals were physically homeless, sleeping outside and in places not meant for human habitation. This is the highest overall and unsheltered numbers ever recorded in New Bedford. Five of those 50 were classified as “unaccompanied youth.”
- Adult households continue to represent the majority of the homeless population in New Bedford, yet households with children continue to increase each year. In 2015 the total “homeless” households that included children increased to a five year high of 36%.
- Although the majority of adult households experiencing homelessness are comprised of individuals who are severely mentally ill, veterans, substance abusers and victims of domestic violence continue to produce high numbers.
- The City of New Bedford’s Department of Planning, Housing & Community Development provides significant funding through Emergency Shelter Grants, the HOME Program, Community Development Block Grants and the Continuum of Care Competition to a range of agencies to ensure the maximum amount of affordable housing opportunities, shelter beds and needed resources are made available.