SOMERVILLE – Each year, the Save Our Homes Walk to Prevent Homelessness in Somerville raises thousands of dollars to help Somerville families avoid eviction and stay in their homes. The 2017 Walk is Sunday, June 11 at 2pm and will cover 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), beginning and ending at Somerville High School. The Walk route will pass several landmarks that relate to affordable housing in Somerville.
Last year, the Rapid Response Homeless Prevention program was able to assist a total of 83 households, with 236 people, including 95 children. Organizers note that prevention is the most cost-effective and compassionate response to the threat of homelessness, and with the rising cost of housing the need is now greater than ever.
“Knowing there was a program like this gave me hope,” said a former client of the Somerville Homeless Coalition who received funding through Rapid Response. “It allowed me the chance to stay in my home, finish school and increase my income with a new job. It is an amazing gift and has helped change my life.”
People can join a team for the walk and donate to the effort at https://www.crowdrise.com/SaveOurHomesWalk2017 or by mailing a check to “Save Our Homes” PO Box 440436, Somerville, MA 02144.
All monies raised have been used for security deposits, rent arrearages, utility bills, and moving costs associated with stabilizing housing. These grants keep families in their homes, adults at their jobs, and kids in school. These funds also help preserve the affordability and diversity of our Somerville community.
“The Walk raises desperately-needed funds to help vulnerable families achieve housing stability, and so their kids don’t have to change schools and have their lives completely disrupted,” said Lee Erica Palmer, a legal services attorney helping to organize this year’s walk, and a member of the Somerville School Committee. “When I door-knocked residents two years ago when first running for School Committee, the number one concern raised by families was affordability and a fear they wouldn’t be able to stay in Somerville because of rising housing costs. This Walk helps families for whom these fears have become all too realized.”
The annual Save Our Homes Walk is organized by the Somerville Affordable Housing Organizing Committee (AHOC). AHOC is an advocacy coalition comprised of Somerville residents and community organizations including Somerville Community Corporation (SCC), Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services (CSLS), and Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC). Organized in 2001 by SCC, AHOC continues to pursue the vital mission of preserving affordable housing, increasing affordable housing opportunities, and stabilizing Somerville’s existing communities.