Governor Maura Healey has recently declared a State of Emergency to address the state’s overburdened shelter system as a result of the recent influx of immigrant families who are fleeing unrest and violence from Venezuela and Haiti.
In addition to the Emergency Family shelters sites Community Teamwork operates in Lowell, we, at the state’s request, have been operating an emergency family shelter in Methuen since October 2022. In that shelter we are currently serving close to 400 people, many who are immigrants with nowhere else to go. Of those 400 individuals, 110 are children under the age of 5. In total across Massachusetts, there are 5,600 families, more than 20,000 people, including infants and children, living in shelters. This is up from just over 3,000 families last year.
In order to provide services to these families, and the new ones that we know will come, we have had to increase staffing and assume many other unanticipated expenses. The lack of affordable housing in our region is only making this situation worse and Community Teamwork is doing everything is can, to help these families and others facing homelessness.
We need your help now, more than ever, and are calling on you, our friends, to help in three major areas:
Do you have a property that you would be willing to rent to a family in need of shelter? Or are you downsizing and have a home or building that you are planning to sell? Or are you a member of a faith community that has unutilized space? Anyone who can offer assistance should contact the state at email@example.com or by dialing 211, which will be monitored by MEMA. See also, We Need To TALK ABOUT HOUSING – Community Teamwork (commteam.org) to find out how you can help.
We provide shelter, food, and supportive services for the families in our Methuen hotel as well as scattered shelter sites in and around Lowell. That includes food and toiletries. We have created a Target Registry to help us supply certain items for our families such as diapers and other hygiene products. We appreciate any assistance you can provide. Please limit any in-kind donations to the items on this registry, Registry Link
If you wish to buy Target Gift Cards, please keep the denominations to $25 or $50. We are also collecting Market Basket gift cards. Those cards should be kept to $25 or less in denomination and mailed to:
Director of Development
155 Merrimack St.
Lowell, MA 01852
The incredible influx of families we are serving has also come with incredible costs. Furthermore, our Resource Center here in Lowell is seeing more and more families who are in crisis. Please consider making a monetary donation to support all the work we do helping those in need in our community. Any amount is truly appreciated. Please Donate here.
We are hopeful that this State of Emergency will start a meaningful discussion on both a state and national level about the enormous need for more affordable housing. On behalf of the entire Community Teamwork Staff, thank you in advance for helping us through this challenging time. Together we can make a difference.