By SCOTT JACKSON
The state will provide $4 million to Father Bill’s & MainSpring to help pay for the construction of a new housing resource center that will replace the organization’s shelter in Quincy.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced the $4 million grant for the project during a press conference Wednesday morning at Father Bill’s, joined by House Speaker Ronald Mariano, Sen. John Keenan, Mayor Thomas Koch and FBMS President & CEO John Yazwinski, among others.
The $4 million the organization received was among $20 million awarded for various housing projects statewide. Baker said more housing must be built across the state to help bring down housing costs.
“Housing is expensive in Massachusetts, we all know that, but one of the reasons it is expensive is because we don’t make enough of it of any kind – senior housing, supportive housing, rental housing, workforce housing, affordable housing. The simple truth is, for the past 30 years or so, we have been building about half the supply we need to actually serve our population,” the governor said.
“I really do hope coming out of the pandemic one of the things we are able to do is put a lot of shovels in the ground all over the commonwealth to create a lot of housing capacity that we so desperately need.”
Father Bill’s new housing resource center will be located at 39 Broad St., across the street from the organization’s current location at 38 Broad St. The latter building will be razed as part of the city’s plan to build a new public safety headquarters nearby.
Koch said the housing resource center will represent a new beginning for Father Bill’s and the clients it serves.
“Easter and springtime is really all about new beginnings. This here today, what we are talking about, is really new beginnings for Father Bill’s, the staff and certainly the recipients of the good care that goes on here,” Koch said. “I’m proud to be here.”
Yazwinski said he first pitched plans for the new housing resource center to his organization’s board of directors in 2015. The new model, he explained, “isn’t just a shelter.”
“It does prevention, it does diversion, it does rapid rehousing and it builds permanent housing,” Yazwinski said.
“Thank you to our board of directors for believing in this vision, believing in best practices, because today, those goals are coming true.”
Yazwinski also thanked the mayor, the Quincy City Council and local state legislators for their support of the project.
“All of you at the local level gave us the political will to get this project funded so here we are,” he said. “It is happening.”
Yazwinski said he was optimistic Father Bill’s would get good news later this year about its proposal to build 30 units of housing, which would be located next to the housing resource center.
To construct both buildings, Yazwinski said Father Bill’s needed to raise $7.5 million.
“I am happy to say today we have already raised – and we haven’t even started the campaign – $3.2 million from the private community,” he said. “What you see though from the private donors is what you see here – the excitement about changing the model.
“We will not manage homelessness. We will end it.”