Housing Families, Inc., (HFI) a Malden-based nonprofit held its annual Legislative Breakfast at Anthony’s in Malden. The annual event brings together legislators, homeless and formerly homeless families to encourage a discussion on homelessness, and to encourage families to share their experiences with elected officials. Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur, Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo Koehn, State Senator Jason Lewis, State Representatives Paul Donato, Steve Ultrino, Christine Barber and members of the Malden City Council were also in attendance. Resident Maria Willes spoke poignantly about her family’s experiences with homelessness and the great work of Housing Families in assisting them with obtaining permanent housing.
Mayor Gary Christenson was honored and presented with a “Housing Hero” award for all his efforts with the homelessness crisis and the City of Malden’s efforts during the pandemic to help people stay in their homes. La Colaborativa was presented with a “Health Hero” award for their work with Latinx immigrants to design and deliver programs, initiatives and community organizing campaigns that focus on food and housing security, economic advancement, and immigrant leadership that drives policy and system changes to benefit the community.
Mayor Christenson thanked his team including Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development Director Deborah Burke, Community Development Director Alex Pratt, and Senior Planner & Policy Manager Evan Spetrini who worked with him on these initiatives. Working with the City Council and the Community Preservation Committee, they obtained over $1M in rental assistance in 2020 alone to help stabilize families. The City also established an eviction prevention program that provided court-based mediation and legal aid, created an eviction prevention information hub on the City website, translated tenant rights and resources information that was mailed citywide in seven different languages, and most effective, was an executive order that established a moratorium on eviction execution in the City for 427 days.
The Mayor also announced that Malden is working with our state legislative delegation including Representatives Donato, Ultrino and State Senator Jason Lewis on a unique program to take vacant properties to be converted to permanent affordable housing.
“None of this teamwork and collaboration would have happened without Housing Families.” Said Mayor Christenson. “It is their hard work, their steadfast partnership, and their commitment to helping our community ‘be whole and healthy’ that has truly made the difference.
Housing Families, Inc. was established in 1986 to fight homelessness in Malden, Medford and Everett and assists more than 400 families a year with emergency shelter, affordable housing and a broad range of support programs and services. HFI has since expanded their services to include more cities and towns in the Greater Boston area. HFI aims to end family homelessness by increasing the amount of permanent affordable housing and by providing high quality support services. For more information about Housing Families, please visit www.housingfamilies.org.
Pictured, from left:
Mayor Gary Christenson and HFI Chief Executive Officer Laura Rosi