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Transitions at Devens Opens New Emergency Shelter For Homeless Women And Children

July 30, 2010

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 and 617-330-2086

Division of Housing Stabilization Associate Director Bob Pulster, along with MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver and Executive Vice President of Devens Operations George Ramirez, joined Our Father's House Executive Director Judith Nest-Pasierb to celebrate the opening of Transitions at Devens, a 13-unit emergency shelter for homeless women and their children. The 16,000-square-foot facility, which is seeking LEED certification, will serve about 50 families a year.

“Sometimes we overlook the fact that Devens is comprised of the people who make this a special place — not just a community, but an extended family. This little corner of Cavite Street is a prime example,” Culver said. “Transitions at Devens takes care of families who need a home, and this brand-new 13-unit facility will provide emergency shelter to women and children who have nowhere else to go.”

“This building really represents a new beginning for Transitions at Devens,” Ramirez said. “We're pleased that this partnership has resulted in a beautiful new facility for those who need it most.”

MassDevelopment invested $2.5 million in the construction and design of the building, which created 10 new construction jobs. Our Father's House, a Fitchburg-based agency that offers shelter and related social services, has managed Transitions at Devens in temporary quarters since 2006.

“Today's situation for homeless families is more critical than ever,” Nest-Pasierb said. “With MassDevelopment and the Department of Housing and Community Development, we say we can find a solution for each family to bring hope.”

Retired Judge Patrick Fox presided at the dedication of the building's foyer to previous OFH executive director Barbara Garneau, whose parents, siblings, and nephews attended the ribbon-cutting. Garneau, who brought the program to Devens, passed away in March.

“Hers was a life truly well-lived,” Fox said. “To the members of her family, we know there's a sense of sadness, but I hope there's also a sense of genuine satisfaction knowing Barbara's work will go on.”

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 1,488 new housing units and 8,232 jobs: 3,362 permanent and 4,870 construction-related.

Cutting the ribbon at the new Transitions at Devens facility, from left to right: MassDevelopment EVP of Devens Operations George Ramirez, Division of Housing Stabilization Associate Director Bob Pulster, Our Father’s House Executive Director Judith Nest-Pasierb, Retired Judge Patrick Fox, MassDevelopment President and CEO Bob Culver, Norman and Rita Garneau (parents of Barbara Garneau).