SMOC'S MISSION To improve the quality of life of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families by advocating for their needs and rights; providing services; educating the community; building a community of support; participating in coalitions with other advocates and searching for new resources and partnerships.
During a recent visit to SMOC, Governor Deval Patrick announced the launch of the first-in-the-nation Pay for Success initiative to reduce chronic individual homelessness.
This initiative leverages philanthropic and private capital investments to provide 500 units of stable supportive housing for up to 800 chronically homeless individuals over six years. We are grateful to the many partners and investors across the state that made this innovative new program possible.
Open House and Dedication Ceremony for SMOC's new home
SMOC celebrated the completion of SMOC's new Framingham Headquarters with an Open House and Dedication Ceremony. Community partners, public officials, funders, vendors and staff gathered for the occasion. Many commented on how the new building offers a bright, spacious and dignified environment in which SMOC clients can access much-needed services. This was the vision for the new space and we are grateful to all who made this vision become a reality. (Daily News Staff Photo/Marshall Wolff)
Sunflower Garden Dedication
On a sunny day in September, SMOC staff and friends partook in the dedication of the new Sunflower Garden at 7 Bishop Street. The garden was dedicated in memory of longtime SMOC staffer, Moses Mohammed. The sunflowers bring a welcome ray of sunshine to Bishop Street. Passersby are welcome to stop and rest on a nearby bench and enjoy the garden.
SMOC's 2014 Summer Jobs for Youth
This summer,18 youth aged 17-22, participated in the Summer Jobs for Youth program. They were placed in 10 different paid internships both at SMOC and the United Way Pearl St Cupboard and Café. The program provided the youth with on-the-job training and a series of workforce development workshops aimed at enhancing their job readiness. At the end of the program, the youth were better prepared for employment and each participant finished the program with a new toolbox of skills as well as a resume, cover letter and a thank you note.
New Police Substation opens in Framingham with help from SMOC
On July 30, we celebrated the opening of a new Police Substation housed at 73 Hollis Street, a SMOC building. The substation supports the Framingham Police Department's community policing initiative. It will also house Framingham Downtown Renaissance, an initiative dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Framingham. SMOC is pleased to donate the space to these vital partners in the community.
(Photo: Allan Jung/MetroWest Daily News)
U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark visits SMOC
Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who represents the 5th Congressional District of Massachusetts, paid a visit to SMOC on July 1. Congresswoman Clark met with staff representatives to learn more about our programs and expressed her appreciation for the range of integrated services available at SMOC. She then stopped by our Child Care program to read a story to some of her youngest constituents (pictured here).
22 Students graduate from GED program at SMOC
On June 20th, in front of a room packed with friends, family, staff, Board Members, local and state officials, 22 graduates of the GED program at SMOC's Joan Brack Adult Learning Center were presented with certificates of completion. The students, both local and international, celebrated their accomplishments with joy and pride. Keynote speakers congratulated the students on their hard work and for overcoming difficult barriers. The Town of Framingham generously donated the use of the Blummer Room in the Framingham Town Hall for the celebration. It was an inspirational event with an all-time high number of graduates.
SMOC Celebrates Opening of 266 Main Street, Oxford, MA.
The Open House was held on Tuesday, June 17 to celebrate the preservation and rehabilitation of this historic property in downtown Oxford. The property consists of 16 units of supported housing for individuals, featuring a shared kitchen and living spaces. The dedication ceremony was attended by neighbors, financing partners and state officials. This $1.4M project was financed by MA Department of Housing and Community Development, Mass Housing, Federal Home Loan Bank and Southbridge Savings Bank. Pictured left to right: Roger Herzog of CEDAC, Aaron Gornstein of DHCD, Senator Richard Moore, Father Alfred T.K. Zadig of Grace Church, SMOC Board Member Steve Penna, James Sandagato and Brian Chandley, both of Southbridge Savings Bank.
Building a Culture of Care
SMOC's history has been published by local author and Board member Hugo "Holly" Hollerorth. The book is called "Building a Culture of Care: The Ongoing Saga of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council." It is an in-depth look at the origins, history and evolution of the organization through the years. Pictured here are the author (center) with staff members Susan Gentili (left) and Darlene Assencoa (right).
Bill Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award
SMOC's own Margaret Davitt was recognized by the MetroWest Advocacy Coalition when she received the 2014 Bill Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony took place on April 4th, 2014 at the 12th Annual Legislative Breakfast. Margaret has been with SMOC as a dedicated human service professional for 48 years. She is currently a member of the Common Ground Resource Center Team.
Pictured with Margaret (far right) are Senator Karen Spilka, Senator James Eldridge and SMOC Executive Director Jim Cuddy (left to right).
SMOC celebrates opening of its new Triage/Assessment Center in Worcester
The dedication ceremony, attended by neighbors, partners and local and state officials, was held on Tuesday, May 14th at the 25 Queen Street, Worcester site. The $3.2M project, financed by Country Bank, the Commonwealth's Department of Housing and Community Development and local foundations replaces the old 701 Main St. site (formerly known as the PIP Shelter). The triage and assessment approach is designed to swiftly transition the homeless into a coordinated system of supported housing and care. Pictured is Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien addressing guests at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Green Jobs Academy graduates it's 23rd Weatherization Installer training class on August 14, 2014.
SMOC's Green Jobs Academy offers an opportunity for a career path in the growing field of weatherization and conservation for unemployed, underemployed and under-skilled individuals. Academy graduates are competent, skilled individuals who are equipped to provide weatherization services in the community by enhancing the existing weatherization contractor base.