Homeless advocate Mitch Snyder once said “HOUSING HOUSING HOUSING,” because he believed it to be the single most important need in people’s lives. If you have a roof over head, every challenge can be overcome. If you’re like the hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not, even the simplest challenges – attending school, getting a job, staying safe - become impossible to transcend. America’s rising numbers of homeless citizens exist as a direct result of a lack of affordable housing. It’s one of this country’s most pressing problems, and one that disproportionately affects women and children.
Safe, decent, AFFORDABLE housing can provide families and individuals with the support they need to become more self sufficient. Affordable housing is often defined as housing that is, in fact, affordable (i.e. occupant pays less than one third of their income) for people who live at or below 50 % of the area median income.
YWCA Greater Newburyport is proud to say it’s been providing affordable housing since 1885, making this agency one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, continually operating affordable housing programs in the country. Founders began offering rooms at 13 Market Street in 1890 amid demand for such housing from women who left their families to come work in the mills that lined the Merrimack River. And just as it provided a safe home away from home for the women of the late 19th century, the women’s residence continues to provide single occupancy rooms and one small apartment to meet the needs of women today.
Nearly 100 years from its inception, after a storied century of expansion and utilization which saw the YWCA used as a USO during two world wars, a gym for women at a time when women were not allowed to engage in organized athletics, and as a new aquatic center with the installation of a swimming pool, the YWCA added to its inventory of affordable housing units in 1990 with the purchase of the Marjorie Lynn House at 11 Market Street. Last year 11 Market Street underwent a renovation and expansion to provide housing for homeless households and households in which at least one family member is disabled.
With that home recently opened in September, 2013, our affordable housing committee continues to work to promote the need for affordable housing throughout the communities we serve. This committee is responsible for our fall forum, the one-night homeless count and the fair housing seminar. With the number of homeless families in our area continuing to outpace the number of available affordable units, the committee also works to develop more affordable housing.
A recent homeless count conducted in Newburyport found over 400 homeless people living in and around Newburyport. More than half of these individuals are children, and most are living ‘doubled up’ with other families. At least 8 of these homeless individuals are veterans of the U.S. Armed Services. The 2012 waitlist for the Newburyport Housing Authority had 303 families waitlisted due to lack of availability.
want to get involved?…
support our program – Your financial contributions help us pursue other affordable housing options for development, and give us the means to support our existing residents with furnishings and updated amenities, and maintain and improve both houses as needed into the future.
affordable housing committee – The YWCA is fortunate to have a committed group of volunteers assigned to head up the affordable housing committee. They are members of our Board of Directors, and citizens like you who understand the importance of having a home. One of the city’s stated goals is to attain 10% percent affordable housing, a goal it is still working to achieve. A recent study conducted by the Affordable Housing Trust finds that one-third of all new construction in Newburyport would need to be affordable to meet that need. To that end, the YWCA affordable housing committee advocates and works in collaboration with city officials to meet that goal.
one night homeless count committee – This committee is made up of local school and city officials, volunteers with local aid organizations and caring residents to plan for and conduct an official count of homeless youths, families and individuals. Accurate data is essential to ensuring resources and state funds are properly allocated to provide services to those who need it. Correct numbers are also serve to illustrate the need, and create the impetus for more affordable housing in the area.
volunteer opportunities – The YWCA is always looking for volunteers to help with painting, light carpentry, gardening and beautification of the Marjorie Lynn House and Women’s Residence. Other needs include special event support and planning.
Looking for housing?
ywca market street apartments
This 10-unit apartment building has both income and eligibility criteria which are described in detail on our application. Click here for the application.
ywca women’s residence
The women’s residence is a ten unit facility located in a historic building in downtown Newburyport. Women share bath and kitchen facilities. Common rooms include a living room with TV and a quiet room with sofa and chairs.
Heat and electricity are included in the weekly rent. Annual membership is required which provides full access to the YWCA Greater Newburyport’s pool and fitness center. You can download an application here.
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