As the mission arm of the Central Association of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC, WAMS partners with congregations, community-based organizations, schools, universities, social services agencies, foundations, businesses, government and individuals to create positive social change and impact.
We do this by offering youth programming aimed at understanding and responding to individual and family homelessness, supporting affordable housing creation, and by leading a community effort to better understand the role each of us can play in ensuring that all Massachusetts families have the support, resources and skills they need to become financially independent.
From developing the first Habitat for Humanity and AIDS housing programs in Massachusetts to championing the ‘housing first’ model and leading the regional effort to preserve Chapter 40B, WAMS has been longtime leader and community partner in the effort to create stable and affordable housing for low-income residents.
A proven advocate for comprehensive and integrated approaches to social problem solving including the renewal of inner city neighborhoods, WAMS has earned plaudits from such ideologically diverse institutions as the National Council of Churches and the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.
It is this holistic approach that continues to guide WAMS’ efforts today, as the income and opportunity gap increases and too many parents and grandparents are faced with the difficult choice of putting food on the table or paying for rent, utilities, or medicine.
We believe that Tim Garvin, CEO and President of United Way of Central MA said it best at a recent WAMS gathering of people working hard to support struggling families:
“If we have people in the 4th generation living in the same lack of safety and stability… not learning to read, not getting good jobs, then it’s not working.”
While there are many important pieces to the puzzle, we know, as EmPath (formerly the Crittenton Women’s Union) so aptly describes and demonstrates, that “real solutions require long-term holistic approaches based on current research on the cost of living, labor market analysis on where the jobs are, and comprehensive mentoring approaches.”
We also know that jobs that pay self-sufficient wages require education and training. And yet, for many children, playing catch-up with their peers begins well before kindergarten, and summers that offer learning for others are for them only summers of falling behind.
For these and so many other reasons, WAMS is committed to working with everyone and anyone who is interested in creating sustainable change for struggling Massachusetts families, including the youth who are as interested in being a part of today as they are in being a part of “the future,” and all who lead them.