WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester elected officials and housing leaders gathered on Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new "A Place to Live" complex for people experiencing homelessness.
What You Need To Know
- A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday for "A Place to Live" in Worcester
- The new building features 24 studio-style apartments for people experiencing chronic homelessness
- The building will have a social services manager and live-in residential manager on site
- It is anticipated that residents will begin to move in before the end of this year
The building, constructed over five years by the Worcester Housing Authority, includes 24 units targeted specifically for chronically homeless individuals.
Alex Corrales, CEO of the Worcester Housing Authority, said the building marks a new direction in the city’s fight against homelessness by offering its residents much more than shelter.
“You’re talking about having wraparound services for the folks that reside here,” Corrales said. “I think that’s very critical, providing them the resources and services. It’s not single-room occupancy, there’s no shared kitchens, shared living, shared bathrooms.”
Each unit is equipped with its own kitchen and bathroom, and the complex will have a social services manager and live-in residential manager on site. Corrales said this will help people break free from the cycle of homelessness and get back on their feet.
“Every single person will work with our case manager on an individual plan, and each plan is going to be unique,” he said. “Some folks may be really close to going to work, and other folks may want to go to school. It's just teaching basic life skills and connecting them with those resources. The beauty of our case manager is that every plan is unique, and every plan is customized for the resident that lives here.”
Worcester has seen a steady rise in homelessness for the past three years. Leah Bradley, executive director of the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, said housing models like "A Place to Live" have a 97% success rate in preventing tenants from sliding back into homelessness.
“I think partnerships like this where there are federal, state, local and community resources all coming together are really the most effective models so that we can build more,” Bradley said. “We can make sure that folks have not only the housing, but the supportive services that they need in order to be successful.”
The project was championed by former Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, who now serves as the Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities. At Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, he advocated for the Affordable Homes Act introduced by Gov. Maura Healey last week.
The Healey administration believes the $4 billion investment would help create, preserve and modernize nearly 70,000 homes.
“Just like this project was the result of people working together, if we work together on this bill, we can have a lot more groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings and a lot more people calling a place home,” Augustus said.
The new building is located on Lewis Street, occupying land purchased by the City of Worcester in the 1970s.