City Establishes Financial Emergency Resilience Fund

The City has established a new fund to help some of its most vulnerable residents deal with the financial impact of unforeseen emergencies.

The Chelsea Resilience Fund is designed to provide access to flexible and rapidly available resources for vulnerable, low- and moderate-income residents facing unforeseen emergencies, such as fires, extreme weather events, the loss of wage earners, and unanticipated medical issues.

“Because emergencies often necessitate significant outlays, households lacking adequate savings, due to racial wealth disparities, can be chronically destabilized as a result of a singular event,” said Alex Train, Director of Housing and Community Development. “In many instances, they determine whether residents can remain safely housed long-term, or face displacement that uproots them from Chelsea. Consequently, the program seeks to provide an economic safety net to residents to allow households to rebound from these unexpected emergencies, paired with social, mental health, and wrap-around services.

The Chelsea Resilience Fund bolsters existing emergency response efforts in the City, by providing rapid, flexible assistance that residents can use to meet their household’s specific needs following an unforeseen emergency, coupled with connections to mental healthcare, housing stability services, and a range of social and human services, according to Train.

The initial $200,000 funding for the program came through The Boston Foundation, and the city has already begun the process to assist residents from a fire at 67 Clinton St., as well as from a building on Heard Street that was condemned because it was uninhabitable.

“Currently, there are few programs that provide assistance that can be used to address the range of needs that are essential to ensuring a household is able to regain stability and address their immediate wellbeing,” Train said. “Among others, needs may include replacing belongings that were lost in the event of a fire or flood; transportation or childcare in the period following an emergency; or immediate home repairs after an extreme weather event, which allow a resident to safely return home.”

Train said a streamlined application is designed to help residents, particularly households facing barriers to services, easily access the resource. Funds will be coupled with navigational support to ensure residents are able to connect to wraparound services, such as available housing, mental health, youth, and workforce services. 

“The City plans on deploying this new resource to complement ongoing emergency response efforts,” Train said. “Led by the Department of Housing & Community Development and Emergency Management Department, in partnership with La Colaborativa, Chelsea Police Department, and Chelsea Fire Department, the City and La Colaborativa have swiftly responded to a string of fires and floods this summer. Exacerbated by climate change, these events displaced 36 residents across three properties.”

The City and La Colaborativa organized emergency housing, food assistance, the provision of healthcare, and access to basic necessities. In tandem, the City deployed resources from the Resilience Fund to provide affected residents with direct financial support to meet urgent household needs.  

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