The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, or MHSA, held their 13th Annual Fundraising Event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Boston on Thursday, May 12, 2016. MHSA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1988, dedicated to ending homelessness in Massachusetts.
The William Lloyd Garrison Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jerry Ray, the former Vice President of Homeless Services for the Mental Health Association. For the past 22 years, Ray has worked closely with MHSA and many other outreach programs.
When asked about his award, Ray said “It’s almost surreal because I am so used to being on the other side… it’s a big deal.”
After retiring last Friday, Ray believes that “There is a lot of work to be done. I will definitely start another chapter in this field, but in another location.”
On behalf of MHSA, Ray gave nothing but positive feedback.
“They bring all the providers together and create so much advocacy. That’s the goal of ending homelessness. We still have a long way to go… but with MHSA’s leadership, we will get closer to that goal.”
Christine Palmieri, the Vice President of Recovery and Housing, will be taking over many of Ray’s responsibilities. She feels “…fortunate enough to have worked in mental health for some years now; we will make this transition as seamless as possible.”
Joan Ingersoll, the President and CEO of The Mental Health Association, has worked closely with Ray, and said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Jerry during my four-year tenure. I have learned so much about solutions to homelessness. The relationships he has built are incredible; all of us at MHA are thrilled that he has received this award, and we couldn’t think of anyone that deserves it more.”
The close-knit team at MHSA works to educate people about chronic homelessness, advocate for those in need, implement more realistic solutions, and collaborate with all members of the government and community. MHSA believes that housing should come first and foremost, and that no person should be without shelter for any reason. The organization also works to help those in need with job placement and recovery.
MHSA relies on the support and help of the community, and accepts donations through their website.