Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the hire of a full-time outreach manager for the Boston Public Library (BPL), who will work as part of a team providing assessment, crisis intervention and intensive case management services to unsheltered individuals drawn to the spaces and resources of the Boston Public Library. The position, which has been in development since June 2017, will be based at BPL’s Central Library in Copley Square, and is funded through the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development and the Boston Public Library, and managed in partnership with Pine Street Inn.
In addition to the outreach manager, additional resources available to patrons will include the hire of a Reference Librarian specializing in Health and Human Services and a recently launched Addiction Recovery Resources in Boston Resource Guide, containing information on substance use and recovery services, and designed for both active users and their loved ones. This guide joins the Boston Public Library’s existing Housing, Health Hunger & Help Resource Guide, both of which were previewed at a recent Library Board Meeting.
“The investment in this newly created position and the resources being made available by our dedicated library staff join a range of citywide resources already helping to support and aid our homeless population in and around our libraries and across the city,” said Mayor Walsh. “These efforts directly support the BPL’s mission of serving everyone.”
The BPL’s new outreach manager position will be immediately filled by Mike Bunch, an existing outreach case manager social worker at Pine Street Inn. Mike previously worked with shelter and treatment providers in Austin, Texas. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer. Bunch began his work at the Central Library this week and will assist patrons at library locations throughout the City in most demand.
“I am thankful to Mayor Walsh, the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, and Pine Street Inn for their steadfast work in bringing this role to fruition,” said David Leonard, Boston Public Library President. “The BPL is committed to providing all patrons, regardless of status, with the critical assistance they need, and the hire of the outreach manager is a significant “first” for the BPL and will connect library users with the right resources to help them move forward.”
In June 2015, the Walsh Administration released Boston’s Way Home, the City’s action plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness. The action plan has redesigned the way Boston offers services to homeless individuals; today, rather than counting on shelter as the solution to the issue. Boston has moved to a housing first model, where an individual’s entrance into the shelter system is also their entrance to a path toward permanent, stable housing.
In January 2016, Mayor Walsh announced Boston had ended chronic veteran homelessness. To date, nearly 850 homeless veterans have been housed. In 2016, the City scaled up its efforts to end chronic homelessness. Since January of 2016, 391 chronically homeless individuals have been housed, representing 2,300 years of homelessness ended.
“Pine Street Inn is pleased to be part of this effort to provide homeless men and women the support and services they need to begin rebuilding their lives,” said Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director of Pine Street Inn. “We are grateful to Mayor Walsh and the BPL for their thoughtful approach to this issue as we all work to address and reduce the number of homeless men and women in Boston.”
About the Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit bpl.org.
About the Department of Neighborhood Development
As the City’s housing agency, the Department of Neighborhood Development works to build strong, inclusive neighborhoods by expanding access to stable and affordable housing for every Bostonian. We invest public resources to improve Boston’s neighborhoods, creating housing options, supporting tenants, fostering homeownership, ending chronic homelessness, and managing the City’s real estate portfolio.
About Pine Street Inn
Founded in 1969 as an emergency shelter, Pine Street Inn began creating permanent housing with on-site support staff for homeless men and women in 1984. Today, Pine Street operates 41 housing locations with over 950 tenants throughout Greater Boston. Reaching more than 1,900 individuals daily, Pine Street provides permanent housing, job training, emergency shelter and street outreach, with a goal to help men and women reach their highest level of independence. To learn more, visit pinestreetinn.org