Boingnet Sponsors the HomeStart Fall Gala
HomeStart Celebrates 20 Years of Preventing Homelessness
On Saturday September 20th, Boingnet sponsored the annual HomeStart Fall Gala in Boston, MA. As members of the 2014 Gala committee, Boingnet CEO Dennis Kelly and wife Jen were excited to attend the gala and support a cause that has been working to end homelessness for 20 years. HomeStart, founded in 1994, is a Boston non-profit organization that provides stabilizing programs to prevent thousands of adults and children from becoming homeless. These programs set HomeStart apart, as the organization stands as a nationally recognized innovator in preventing homelessness in the Boston area.
At the Gala, sponsors from the local community came together to celebrate 20 years of HomeStart’s dedication to ending homelessness. The highlight of the night came when James Patterson, a former homeless man, discussed his journey through drug addiction, homelessness and road to recovery with HomeStart. However, Patterson’s story is unique, as he came from an affluent family and attended an elite prep school. After he graduated from Northeastern University in 1992, he started his first post-grad job with a promising career in advertising and sales. While on the outside Patterson’s life was on an upward trajectory, in reality he struggled with a serious drug addiction at the seams of spiraling out of control. By 2005, he had lost everything and was living in an abandoned warehouse near Fenway Park. Patterson remarked, “I was hopeless and I saw no way out.”
That’s where HomeStart picked him back up on his feet. Forced to go to a homeless shelter, Patterson was assigned a housing advocate from HomeStart. HomeStart’s goal was simple: to help him move into a home and help him rebuild his life. Over the course of 3 months, Patterson made steps towards improvement and was soon able to move out of the shelter. HomeStart’s involvement with Patterson did not end there. The organization continued to support his journey with stabilizing programs teaching him how to take care of himself, manage his money, and keep him in his new home. Today, Patterson has come a long way since his days suffering from addiction and homelessness. With his recent masters degree in social work from Boston College, Patterson is working, sober and living in a home of his own. At the end of his speech, Patterson gave a heartfelt thank you to the audience members, saying, “without the help that HomeStart gave me, I would not have been able to make the critical changes that I needed to make in order to thrive and to survive.” HomeStart not only gave him a home, but also gave him a new life.
Of course, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. Patterson’s speech further highlighted the amazing work that HomeStart has done for our community. Earlier in the night the audience watched an inspiring video celebrating Homestart’s successes over the past 20 years. Local politicians, business leaders, and former HomeStart clients joined together to simply say “thank you” to the organization. At the end of the video, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick gave a reminder to the audience, stating that while this night is a symbol of how far HomeStart has come, “we still have work left to do.” His point reigns true, as it is now our job to continue to work together and end the cycle of homelessness.
The Fall Gala was just one of many milestones that HomeStart has reached over the past 20 years. Overall, the event was a huge success as the organization raised $415,645 to help hundreds of individuals and families in the Boston area. The night revealed that this is only the beginning for HomeStart. Boingnet is excited to continue our partnership with the organization and to see what HomeStart will accomplish over the next 20 years.
Check out the incredible work HomeStart is doing to fight homelessness at their website, www.homestart.org.