Director Of Homelessness Initiatives
The mission of the Director is to foster community collaborations that work to prevent and reduce homelessness in Lowell. In 2019, the City Manager convened a task force with representation from a cross-sector of the community. Their objective was to “develop and recommend a plan based on the evidenced-based “Housing First” strategy, which includes engaging the appropriate community infrastructure necessary to support and sustain a long-term system of permanent supportive housing within the City of Lowell as well as improve the crisis response system (street outreach, emergency shelter, and rapid connection to resources to prevent homelessness”.
The following are the global recommendations that inform the efforts of the Director:
1. Strengthen collaboration and coordination for service delivery and cross-sector collaboration. Specifically, public entities, non-profit organizations and both public and private landlords should work together to produce housing units with rental assistance, and should continue to work towards developing more housing units targeted to people who are currently or at risk of becoming homeless.
2. Organize a true crisis response system that focuses on diversion, problem-solving, and coordinated outreach that is housing and health focused.
3. Organize and expand options for permanent supportive housing and other housing stabilization that provide an “exit” for individuals from homelessness and improved health.
4. Partner with SMOC and LTLC to support all elements of a transformation of their shelter operations.
5. Use data and technology to maximize the impact of the existing services and funding, as well as inform planning, resource allocation and track progress on key metrics.
6. Merge the Lowell Continuum of Care (CoC) with the state-administered CoC adjacent to Lowell and work to create a regional system of housing options through the CoC.
The Task Force has been reorganized as the Coordinating Council on Homelessness and Sustainable Housing, and will provide collaborative strategies to prevent, reduce and end chronic homelessness.
The Coordinating Council exists to support and inform the City’s overall strategy for reducing individual homelessness and increasing capacity for housing, with specific focus on plans created by the Director of Homelessness Initiatives. Starting from the evidenced-based “Housing First” strategy, the Council will advocate for engagement with appropriate community infrastructure, and work to develop and sustain the creation of a long-term system of permanent supportive housing within the City of Lowell. Adopted by the City Council, the task force report serves as a guiding document for the Coordinating Council, who will then in turn use the strength of its members to improve the crisis response system (street outreach, emergency shelter, and rapid connection to resources to prevent homelessness) and support the creation of opportunities to address the root causes of homelessness as a social determinant of health.