Monday, June 1, 2015

Updated Sharingweb website is almost ready

Apologies for the lack of updates on this site recently.  We've actually been very busy working on a more user-friendly version of the site. 

The new version will be mobile-friendly, will make searching easier, and will allow charitable organizations to submit and manage their own information.  Along with the new functionality, we'll have a whole new look, including a new logo.

IMPORTANT -Bookmarks and links will need to be updated.  When we switch to the new version, the web page addresses (URL's) for all agencies will change.  That means that any saved "bookmarks" or "favorites" will no longer work.  We are personal development leadership best reviews in town. Learn more about us.

If you have any questions or need help, please send an email to John Garvey at .

Monday, December 8, 2014

St. Francis House Holiday Open House

Don't forget to to RSVP today for the St. Francis House Holiday Open House! Sample festive treats and enjoy a display of artwork created by St. Francis House guests.
When: Thursday, December 11th, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Where: St. Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02116
RSVP: online today

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Homelessness Awareness Week

Homelessness is a year-round concern, and living on the street or in a shelter can be lonely and challenging. The recent relocation of hundreds of men and women due to the closing of the Long Island bridge adds to the uncertainty, especially as the days and nights become colder.

Each year, the week before Thanksgiving is designated as “Homelessness Awareness Week,” a time to bring special attention to those who lack the stability and safety of a home.

Here on our website you can find an organization near you that could use your support.  Click here, and select "Shelter."

One in Thirty American Children Homeless

The good news is that Massachusetts ranked #3 in the nation when it comes to addressing and managing the issue of homeless children.  Only Minnesota and Nebraska outperformed the Bay State.

The bad news is that there were over 31,500 Massachusetts children who experienced homelessness at some point last year (2013).  That's up 11% since 2010-2011.

The problem is worse when the national numbers are examined.  Over 2,5 million children - that's 1 in 30 - were homeless during 2013.

America's Youngest Outcasts, a report prepared by The National Center on Family Homelessness, ranks the 50 states on how they are addressing child homelessness from best (1) to worst (50).

Major causes on child homelessness in the U.S. include: (1) the nation's high poverty rate; (2) a lack of affordable housing across the nation; (3) the continuing impacts of the Great Recession; (4) racial disparities; (5) the challenges of single parenting; and (6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.

Effective solutions must combine safe, affordable housing with essential services. Family members should be comprehensively assessed to understand what services they need. Parents may require education, job training, transportation, and childcare, and may also need mental health and parenting supports. All services should incorporate a family-oriented, trauma-informed approach.

To read the full report and find out where your state ranks, please visit

Monday, November 17, 2014

MA Coalition for the Homeless appeals for EAEDC overhaul

We received the following email from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless earlier this month, shedding light on the "Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) program.  The organization is appealing for an update to the program, with more funding.  Organizations - especially those that work with EAEDC participants - to sign on as organizational endorsers of their appeal.  Please see below.

When the state does not assess the effectiveness nor updates a program that began in 1988 that provides monthly cash assistance to individuals who are extremely low income and unable to work, it is bound to take a human toll in unmet needs for people who are struggling to survive. Such is the case for the state's Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) program, a program funded through the Department of Transitional Assistance that serves approximately 23,800 participants.   

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless has now officially launched its Campaign to Strengthen EAEDC Assistance. Sister Linda Bessom SND, Outreach/Senior Community Organizer, interviewed a number of EAEDC participants and human service, shelter, and residential care providers who serve this population. She gave providers and EAEDC recipients a chance to respond to a brief questionnaire about the impact this program has on their lives and people they serve. It is evident from the surveys and conversations that now is the time to improve this program.

A very low-income person is eligible to receive EAEDC only if the individual is:

  • An elder, 65 years of age or older, and is in the process of applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or 
  • Experiencing a mental or physical disability that inhibits their ability to work for at least 60 days; or
  • A participant in the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's programs; or
  • Caring for a child who is not eligible to receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) or a person with a physical disability
  • and is:
    • A citizen or lawfully present immigrant;
    • A resident of Massachusetts; and
    • Has $250 or less in assets.

There never has been a cost of living adjustment or increase in the program's 26 years! The monthly cash benefit depends on one's living arrangement: $304.80/month if one has their own housing. This amount is $668.80 short of the 2014 federal poverty level guidelines for one person. If the individual becomes homeless and resides in emergency shelter, he/she is required to inform the Department of Transitional Assistance, which then reduces the benefit to $91.60/month. If the individual resides in a residential care facility one receives $72 (personal needs allowance).  

Last year, at least 821 EAEDC participants experienced homelessness at some point. There are approximately 630 participants residing in residential care facilities. 

The EAEDC program assists eligible participants who are in the process of applying for SSI -- which can take as long as two years.   Once the individual finally starts to receive the SSI federal benefit, the federal government will reimburse the state for just about all it paid out-- but this reimbursement goes back into the state's General Fund.   In 2013 the General Fund received $13.1 million from these EAEDC reimbursements from the federal government. 

Here are a few stories from EAEDC participants whom we call "Enduring Voices," because of each one's constant struggle to survive.  Here are two stories of two women, Angel and Stacey.

These Enduring Voices have given the Coalition permission to share their story and photo, in order to have a critical voice in this Campaign to Strengthen EAEDC Assistance.   

Angel:  "I have major depressive disorder and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Although I've only been on EAEDC for a month, it is hard to survive on.  $92 doesn't scratch the surface...I live at a shelter and they do not cover my basic needs. One meal a day is less than basic needs.  Winter is coming, and all I have is summer clothes.  I'm concerned about affording clothes to keep me warm...  I need more help for the cost of transportation to visit with my children ($14 roundtrip by commuter rail) and to get to the doctors.   I can't help to take care of my five kids, but I really want to. Right now I have no other options until I can get back on my feet.... I just want to be able to save, I can't save, but I want to.... Medication is covered by MassHealth, and I'm grateful. Food stamps are okay; they allow me to eat."    
Angel has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and looks forward to being a case manager when she is able to work again.
Stacey: "With EAEDC benefits of $303.80/month, I feel like I'm in a pond with lily pads all over; there are places to jump but I always wonder if the lily pad will fall through, if I'll drown with that jump. ... Asset limits seem counter-intuitive to helping me save up for a future. I try to save $10 each check, but it creeps close to the $250 limit quickly. I also have unexpected costs... I want to go to school again so badly I can taste it.... I want to be vocationally rehabilitated, I want more than my ninth grade education, but I had a perfect storm of events that happened when I was very young (child-rape).  I want to be at the place that I can support myself. ..  Ultimately, I'd like to be a child psychologist. First I need to get my GED, then I'd like to get an Associate's degree and work in schools with children. I had one teacher change my life once because she believed in me. I've been looking for her for years. I hope that I can do that for someone, to make them feel like that matter."    
Stacey is a hard worker. However, she was fired from her waitress job because she was forced to take part of the morning off from her job to take care of her young adult son who had a severe medical emergency. Her co-workers covered for her, aware of the emergency. Her son pulled through, but her job loss led to homelessness.   

Due to severe rheumatoid arthritis, Stacey had reconstructive surgery on one of her ankles.  She stayed with a friend until physical abuse forced her to flee to Worcester to stay with another friend. She lost her EAEDC and food stamps for failing to report immediately to DTA that her address had changed even though it was due to domestic violence. 

Just recently, Stacey was hired as a supervisor for a catering business at the DCU Center in Worcester, and hopes to pursue her dreams.

Through the Campaign to Strengthen EAEDC Assistance, the Coalition will work with the Massachusetts Legislature, the new Administration, EAEDC program participants, providers, and concerned community advocates to advocate for the following improvements in order to strengthen EAEDC Assistance:  

  • Increase the monthly grant from $303.70 to $428/month (amount for an individual receiving Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits with a housing allowance);
  • Raise the asset limit from $250 - $2,500;
  • Remove the shelter deduction that reduces benefits to $91.60/month, so that the participant who experiences homelessness, can begin to save towards first and last month's rent while in shelter;
  • Provide an annual cost of living adjustment to the EAEDC program.

The Coalition is seeking a minimum of 25 organizational endorsers if not more. Please consider filling out the online endorsement form, especially if you work with EAEDC participants.

If you need further information on this Campaign, and have EAEDC recipients who would like to be an "Enduring Voice" in this campaign and would like to be interviewed, please contact Sister Linda Bessom SND at , 781-595-7570 x18 or Kelly Turley at , 781-595-7570 x17.

Joining our voices together,  we will strongly advocate for these improvements that will truly begin to make a difference in the quality of life of all EAEDC program participants.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Interfaith Social Services 'Feed the Hungry' Gala

On Friday, December 5, 2014, Interfaith Social Services will hold its 17th Annual Feed the Hungry Gala to help South Shore families in need. The Gala will be held at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy. The evening will include celebrity chefs whipping up mouth-watering offerings, a free wine tasting, fun games and an amazing selection of auction prize packages.

Gala Details

Date: December 5, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Place: Granite Links, 100 Quarry Hills Drive, Quincy
Attire: Cocktail/Business Formal

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Holiday Cards from Rosie's Place

With a variety of classic Boston scenes and whimsical winter illustrations to choose from, the holiday cards you purchase from Rosie’s Place for business or personal use will help underwrite their vital programs for poor and homeless women in Boston.

An order of 50 or more cards, starting as low as $150, includes an exclusive card design of your choice, envelopes and a custom-imprinted interior with your text, signatures, logos or photos.

Contact Cara Rotschafer at holidaycards or 617-318-0238 with questions.

Click here for details.