With the holiday season in full swing, Rosie’s Place co-hosted a party at the Franklin Field public housing development.
“Everyone deserves to celebrate and be celebrated,” said Erin Miller, Vice President of External Affairs for Rosie’s Place.
About 80 guests, which included tenants and their families, enjoyed holiday cookies, a dinner buffet, gifts, and mingling at the Senior Center. It’s one of the organization’s many initiatives to signal their presence in the community as an ally and advocate.
Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for low-income and homeless women in Boston’s South End, opened a satellite office in 2014 at the Dorchester community. Their goal is to expand the Rosie’s Place experience throughout the city.
“The tenants at Franklin Field are similar in many ways to our [South End] guests in that they are mainly female-headed households, juggling multiple priorities, and many are at or below the poverty level,” said Catherine Louis, Community Collaborative Manager for Rosie’s Place satellite office. “And there are not a lot of services in that area of Dorchester, so we are trying to fill a gap.”
Franklin Field advocates work one-on-one with tenants who identify as women to find permanent solutions to challenges they may face including eviction, isolation, illness, and addiction. Services include housing assistance, legal aid, employment opportunities, and emergency funds for eviction prevention.
Through a partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services, legal assistance in the form of advice, representation, and educational materials is available on site once a week at Franklin Field. The services offered focus on issues of domestic violence and child custody. Twice a week, Rosie’s Place partners with Operation A.B.L.E. to help tenants with resume writing, job interview coaching, and job placement.
According to Miller, the organization also has on-site representatives at Massachusetts Trial Courts and at five different Boston Public Schools for mothers in need of support.
“The holidays can be a tough time because it’s a reminder for those who may have lost people or have fractured relationships with friends and family,” said Miller. “This holiday gathering helps bring a sense of cheer and community.”
Everybody at the party received gifts, donated to Rosie’s Place by various individuals and organizations. Adults were given hats and gloves for the cold weather, while kids were given toys. “Having this party really helped bring toys to families who might have difficulty getting gifts,” said Louis.
The holiday party at Franklin Field could not have been possible without the support of volunteers, many of whom also help the organization operate on a daily basis.
Sandra Rivera is a resident at Franklin Field and has been a volunteer for Rosie’s Place for two years. She said the holiday party was a great time because “everybody is getting along.”
“If we have any issues about anything, Rosie’s Place [advocates] are the only people we can go and talk to about it,” she said.
Although the holidays can certainly bring joy and hope, Miller said, “Evictions, difficulties paying bills and buying food – those things don’t stop just because it’s the holiday season.”