On December 13, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) held its Annual Meeting at the Nine Zero Hotel in downtown Boston, honoring House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano and Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Housing Advisor, Sheila Dillon.
With nearly 100 people in attendance, it was the largest Annual Meeting in the history of MHSA.
At the event, MHSA President and Executive Director Joe Finn presented Representative Mariano with the Canon Brian S. Kelley Public Servant Award for his career-long commitment to supporting innovative solutions to homelessness. Finn presented Dillon with the inaugural Housing Champion Award for her work in preserving vital resources for homeless individuals in Boston.
According to Finn, Mariano and Dillon’s efforts are more important now than ever.
“It’s a scandal that we’re starting to see—at our shelters—younger, more mentally ill homeless individuals,” Finn said. “We know that permanent supportive housing makes an incredible difference…and we know there is a great cost associated with doing nothing.”
A brief PowerPoint presentation shown at the Annual Meeting emphasized that permanent supportive housing has yielded positive results in Boston and statewide: Boston alone has seen a 25 percent decrease in the number of chronically homeless individuals between 2005 and 2010, despite a struggling economy, thanks to Mayor Menino and our honorees’ focus on permanent supportive housing.
(To view the presentation, click here: Presentation Reviewing MHSA’s Efforts and Accomplishments from 2011.)
“It’s easy to make the case based on the numbers we see…that there’s a role for government in ending homelessness,” Mariano said.
Echoing Mariano, Dillon said, “It’s a great time to be working on homeless issues in Massachusetts…we’re all aligned—the government, service providers…to really make a reduction in homelessness.”
After the award presentations, attendees—ranging from government officials to service providers to members of the private sector—continued to mingle and discuss their intersecting efforts to end homelessness in Massachusetts.