Heading Home Responds to Call for Help in Partnership with Bunker Hill Community College Emergency Shelter for Women During COVID-19
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
With temperatures dropping and the impact of COVID-19 settling in on the poorest in our community, the demand for a good night’s sleep in a warm bed continues to rise. In response to a call from multiple state agencies and in conjunction with several key partners, Heading Home has stepped up to launch and oversee a 48-women’s only overnight shelter located at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).
“We are honored to be in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College to offer overflow shelter for women experiencing homelessness in Boston. It is an honor to come together with public, private and non-profit leaders to solve some of our city’s greatest challenges,” said Danielle Ferrier, CEO of Heading Home.
The opportunity for BHCC to host this temporary shelter was possible as most of the teaching and learning is online due to the pandemic.
“As an essential hub of community service and learning, our College is in a unique position to make a difference for our vulnerable residents during these extremely difficult times,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger.
The operation opened December 3, 2020, as an overflow option for several Boston shelters and residents, as well as for others who need a safe and clean space to sleep. As we had hoped, clients are returning night after night based on their positive experiences. Most nights we have at least 15 guests, reaching 30% capacity or more.
In Partnership. Heading Home is honored to be joined in this effort with a number of partners, in addition to MEMA, including:
- Allied Security – security
- Arbor Associates – staffing
- Deployed Resources – mobile laundry
- MBTA – transportation
- Spinelli’s - food
A Dignified Approach. Women are welcomed into BHCC’s sun-filled gymnasium, offered toiletry kits, personal lockers, and a space to call their own for the night. Individual lockers are provided, as well as showers and laundry. MBTA buses bring clients to and from the shelter (3:30 p.m. arrival and 7 a.m. departure) – and a team of caseworkers and security ensure that the location remains drug-free and in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol. Hunger typically accompanies homelessness, so clients enjoy a warm meal at the end of the day and breakfast before leaving in the morning. Additionally, guests have been enjoying activity kits during their stays.
Staff continues to be moved by guests’ levels of exhaustion - yet the appreciation they show for a warm bed, delicious meal, and a chance to shower is palpable. Heading Home remains grateful for our partnerships in this effort to bring safety and security to women in our community.
Ways to help.
About Heading Home
Heading Home is one of Boston’s leading providers of emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing, and supportive services to families and individuals experiencing homelessness. With roughly 500 households in shelter and supportive housing, Heading Home provides direct services to more than 1,400 Greater Bostonian’s annually. 90% of Heading Home families are headed by a single mom who together have 400+ children. Outcomes are measured by success of sustained housing placements, which for 15 years running have been 90%+. Last year, 96% of Heading Home clients remained housed after one year.
Heading Home Media Contact: Suzanne Picher, Chief Development Officer, Heading Home, Charlestown, MA 02129; Cell Phone: 617.620.6262; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolling approximately 18,000 students annually. BHCC has two campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, and a number of other locations throughout the Greater Boston area. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 600 international students who come from 94 countries and speak more than 75 languages.