Local organizers have chosen a site for homeless youth and youth at risk of homelessness, and spent Sunday working to renovate the Hatfield Street property.
Fundraising since January 2016, the two organizations — DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services and the Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals — recently closed on a two-story house at 11 Hatfield St. that they are working to convert into two separate two-bedroom apartments.
There is a lot adjacent to the house where the groups plan to build another structure, where four efficiency apartments will be built. Phase 1 is expected to be complete by the end of the summer, and, depending on fundraising, the groups hope the new building will be done next summer.
Phil Ringwood, executive director of DIAL/SELF, said the total needed to complete both structures will be in the $900,000 to $1 million range. They have created 38 units of affordable housing have been created since 2006.
These supported housing projects include an array of social services, life skills education, case management, and community service responsibilities for the residents.
Being producers in our society. Not just consumers.
Ringwood said the groups have raised enough money for purchasing and renovating the first house.
“The fundraising we’re doing is all toward the new building at this point,” he said.
The rooms will be available to those 18 to 24 with preference given to youth in the Northampton area.
Ringwood said there is a significant need. According to a news release, the Continuum of Care Homeless Information System data shows 54 homeless youth served at two shelters in 2014 and 39 in 2015, with 13 others served at Northampton’s Grove Street Inn over both years.
He said the young people the group serves are exiting foster care, have little family support or can no longer stay in parent-subsidized housing because they are too old.
The young people will sign three-month renewable leases at the new facility, be responsible for income-based rent, participate in support services and complete four hours of community service a month.