For more than three decades, Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS), a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization, has been a leading innovator of ending homelessness. The mission is to end and prevent homelessness in Southern Massachusetts with programs that provide emergency and permanent housing and help people obtain skills, jobs, housing, and services. We help people who are struggling with homelessness, or are at risk of homelessness, to achieve self-sufficiency.
WorkExpress Program/Graffiti Removal
WorkExpress is a social enterprise of Father Bill’s & MainSpring. Program participants are generally homeless men and women who reside at the MainSpring House shelter in Brockton. Many of these participants have limited education and skills, some are early in their sobriety, some may be working through physical, emotional and mental health concerns. Many of them have not worked in several years. The program teaches hard and soft skills, provides on the job training, and access to career specialists. The WorkExpress program in Brockton has a dedicated crew supervisor and case manager. The goal is that they attain housing and a job.
WorkExpress engages in many job activities and contracts with several customers, one of which is the City of Brockton. These jobs include graffiti removal, street litter cleanup, and emptying the public trash receptacles in the down town business district. WorkExpress also engages in work for other customers. This work includes commercial cleaning, deep cleaning and interior painting of apartments prior to turnover, exterior property cleanup, and landscaping. Over the last several years, contract revenue has funded 80-90% of the total program costs.
One of the jobs that WorkExpress engages in is graffiti removal. This is a very important collaboration with the City of Brockton. WorkExpress program participants have been on the margins of society for many years and it is very meaningful for them to engage in important work for the City. They learn how to use chemicals and machinery, how to complete exterior paint work, how to work safely in many different weather conditions, and how to appropriately interact with people in the community. In 2018, graffiti was removed from over 130 locations and many of these locations had multiple tags. Some of the graffiti included gang symbols, vulgarity, and racial slurs. All graffiti locations are logged with before and after photos and sent to the Brockton Police gang unit. Graffiti was removed from street signs, the sides of buildings, playground equipment, fences, mailboxes, guardrails, bridge abutments, walls, and directly on street and sidewalk pavement.
Father Bill’s & MainSpring (FBMS) requested CDBG funding to support a public facility renovation project at MainSpring House. This project will directly impact 40 homeless women nightly who seek shelter in the basement dorm of MainSpring House (MSH) in Brockton. this funding will help cover the costs of seven new windows, five new doors, and the removal and replacement of an AC system.
FBMS assisted 5,797 individuals and families last year by providing emergency shelter, workforce development, support services and housing to those in need. Last year 966 individuals stayed at MSH. Of that number, 298 women took shelter in the basement dorm at MSH. These renovations will ensure that the building can continue to provide a safe and sustainable living environment.