On March 14th the Network hosted a City Council Supportive Housing Briefing with Council Member Lincoln Restler at Breaking Ground’s 90 Sands residence. The Network outlined some supportive housing basics and how council members, staff and other elected officials can get involved, support and spur development in their districts.
Council Member Restler then moderated a discussion on how 90 Sands came to be with Breaking Ground's Executive Director Brenda Rosen, Adina Barbosa, Senior Deputy Chief Program Officer at Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS), Dean Connors, 90 Sands supportive housing resident, and Helen Pearlstein, Board of Directors, Concord Village, a community member who went from skeptic to a full-on champion.
“We have a homelessness crisis. We see people cycling through shelter and hospitals and the investment we have to make is supportive housing,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler.
“The building blocks of community integration are patience, listening, honesty and clarity. It's critical we engage the community,” said Brenda Rosen. “We are not a building separate from the landscape around us. We are a neighbor.”
“It’s a hand-up for me to get my life on track, not a hand-out. I love coming home. It's peace of mind,” said Dean Connors.
"We see ourselves as part of the community. We find resources for tenants in the community and make connections with services, help get jobs, and provide workshops and activities to the wider community," said Adina Barbosa.
"The community's first impression of supportive housing was scared,” said Helen Pearlstein. “But, Council Member Restler’s excitement and belief came through even more than his words and it took away so many of the fears."
There was then a fruitful Q&A and group discussion followed by a tour of 90 Sands.