We reached out last winter asking for your support to provide temporary housing options for clients awaiting emergency sheltering access. You responded in the fullest reflection of our values, with a deep sense of human dignity and compassion. More than 30 families in our community reached out to JFS and offered to host a family in your home! Others purchased urgently needed items on our Emergency Shelter WishList and donated gently used goods. We are immensely grateful to each and everyone of you who stepped up to partner with us to make a difference in peoples lives.

Now several months later, we are reaching out to you again with a different request. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has asked organizations like JFS to support families transitioning from emergency sheltering into permanent housing.

This is meant to help divert people from sheltering waiting lists, as well as support families who are ready to move from sheltering into more permanent housing. We are looking for your support in five critical areas:

  1. Offer affordable housing: We are seeking Massachusetts landlords that are within a 40-mile radius of Springfield, MA who would be willing to rent to JFS clients through the HomeBase This would provide the opportunity for individuals to have enough stability to begin working and providing for their families. HomeBase provides a rent subsidy that can be used for up to two years to support families who are transitioning out of sheltering and will create a reliable funding stream to support families during this interim period.
  2. Provide 1 to 3 months of shelter to one family: We are seeking community members who can host a family while they wait for emergency shelter placement or while we look for a permanent housing solution for them. Hosts can define a period of time or family makeup that would be a good fit.
  3. Provide urgent and temporary shelter for 2 to 4 weeks: We are still seeking families who are willing to open their spaces for a short-term stay. This would provide stability for a family and time for JFSWM to secure appropriate housing and support.
  4. Purchase items on our Amazon wish list: We created a new list specifically for families arriving who will need items for their new house. We particularly need sheets, pillows, cookware, boxed bed sets, and more. Click here see the full list.
  5. Donate household items: We are looking for community members to donate new or gently used items for their new houses. Please schedule an appointment with our Donations Assistant Nina Echols echols@jfswm.org for specific pick up/drop off times for large pieces of furniture. Specific items include: beds, dressers, couches, kitchen tables, chairs, and other household furnishings and kitchen supplies as well as personal hygiene supplies.  Click here to find the full list of needed items.

Every small effort counts, and your contribution can impact these families directly during an unprecedented housing challenge in the Commonwealth. All families that we are working with either have children under the age of eighteen or have babies on the way. We need your help as we make sure they have shelter as we help them navigate next steps in their new home.

If you are interested in helping in any of the ways above and have questions or would like to know next steps, please contact JFS Housing and Integration Specialist, Frenaud Dorilien at f.dorilien@jfswm.org.

Together, we can build a vibrant community where people are welcomed! Thank you for being part of our JFS community, and for your support of new American families at this critical stage in their journey.