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March 2, 2021
 
Cambridge Comm. Foundation Awards $45K in ‘Surprise’ Funds
Cambridge Community Foundation

February 5, 2021 — The Cambridge Community Foundation, based in Cambridge, recently announced it granted a round of nine so-called surprise grants to local nonprofits offering emergency housing and supporting people facing homelessness this winter.

Each of nine grants of $5,000 grants, totaling $45,000, were awarded from the Cambridge COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which is fueled by donations from hundreds of residents.

The Cambridge Community Foundation said it pledged to quickly distribute grants from the fund to help nonprofits address emergency issues ranging from food insecurity, housing insecurity and shelter for the homeless, cash for urgent needs, access to connectivity, and emergency childcare.

“In a normal year, winter is the most challenging time for people experiencing homelessness and home-insecurity, but during the pandemic, safe beds, healthy meals, and warm, socially-distant day spaces have become hard–to–find, critical needs,” the foundation noted.

Phil Johnson, a member of the foundation’s board of directors, said, “For people already in crisis, the pandemic has been particularly devastating, and the daily challenges for the homeless are unimaginable for many of us.“

It’s not only the homeless, but all of our vulnerable neighbors who struggle to make their way in the world, whether as a result of mental health issues, addiction, or poverty. Cambridge is fortunate to have nonprofits that understand not only our homeless community but all of the most vulnerable amongst us whose struggles have been compounded by the pandemic.”

Receiving the funds were the following:

  • CASPAR
  • First Church Shelter
  • Harvard Square Homeless Shelter
  • Heading Home
  • Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center
  • Salvation Army Shelter (Umoja Program)
  • Transition House
  • Y2Y
  • YWCA Cambridge

Homelessness is on the rise in Cambridge, according to the foundation.  CASPAR (Cambridge And Somerville Programs for Addiction Recovery), which helps those battling homelessness, reports that, of the people they support, 80% more are sleeping outside compared to last fall.

“The numbers seem to keep growing,” said Julia W. Londergan, CASPAR’s director of development.

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