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Grant will help area homeless find jobs

A western Massachusetts organization will continue its fight against homelessness by placing 76 individuals into jobs this year, including 10 to 20 from Franklin County.

“Secure Jobs Connect” — a project led by Corporation for Public Management, and funded by a $300,000 grant from the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation — will help families who are, or at risk of becoming, homeless.

Staff working on Secure Jobs Connect will select individuals from western Massachusetts who come from families that are eligible for emergency shelters or have received short-term rental assistance through the state program “HomeBASE.”

Staff will help to connect those individuals with a local business. Then, once they’re hired, the staff will offer financial and moral support to both employer and employee. Secure Jobs Connect has guaranteed that at least 61 of its participants will remain in their jobs for at least one year.

Homelessness affects 500 people in western Massachusetts and employment can be a long-lasting solution to the problem, according to information provided by the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness, the organization that spearheaded the project.

“We are thrilled to participate in this exciting opportunity to demonstrate how homeless families can become housing stable with stable employment,” said Pamela Schwartz, director of the Network, in a statement issued Tuesday. “We have a model that is already on its way to proving successful.”

The project covers all of western Massachusetts, but the effort will be most focused on high populous areas like Springfield, said Schwartz.

It began last month and the grant will pay for 21∕2 employee positions, said Schwartz. Money will also be used to support both business and employee, in an effort to keep the individuals in their new jobs.

For more information, call the Secure Jobs Connect program office at 413-536-5403, ext. 229 or email

You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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