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Somerville Homeless Coalition, Inc.

 PO Box 440436
 Somerville, MA 02144
[P] (617) 623-6111
[F] (617) 776-7165
Kathryn Benjamin
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2897447

LAST UPDATED: 06/19/2016
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of the Somerville Homeless Coalition is to provide homeless and near-homeless individuals and families with personalized supportive services and tailored housing solutions with a goal of obtaining and maintaining affordable housing. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Somerville Homeless Coalition is to provide homeless and near-homeless individuals and families with personalized supportive services and tailored housing solutions with a goal of obtaining and maintaining affordable housing. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $3,137,887.00
Projected Expense $3,274,577.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Case Management
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Homelessness Prevention
  • Project SOUP - Food Pantry and Meals
  • Supportive Housing

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The mission of the Somerville Homeless Coalition is to provide homeless and near-homeless individuals and families with personalized supportive services and tailored housing solutions with a goal of obtaining and maintaining affordable housing. 

Background Statement

In 1985 the Somerville Homeless Coalition (SHC) was created by our community’s grassroots response to the social crisis of homelessness. Neighbors, community activists, university students, faith-based leaders, business supporters and city officials united to address the escalating problem of homelessness within Somerville. These collaborative efforts resulted in the opening of the city’s first emergency shelter and the establishment of SHC.

Today, SHC transforms lives by providing services, support, resources and housing to nearly 2,500 men, women, and children every year.

SHC’s emergency response programs include an Adult Shelter, Family Shelter, Food Program & one-on-one Case Management Services. SHC is also an innovator in the realm of “Housing First”. These housing programs involve Homeless Prevention, Rapid Re-Housing, and providing Affordable Housing with home-based Supportive Services to the most at-risk homeless individuals and families in our community.
Over the past five years we have expanded our prevention program, begun in 2004, as we realize that we can never create enough housing for the homeless and the difficulty in obtaining affordable housing once it is lost. 

Impact Statement

The Somerville Homeless Coalition is a strong organization; we are fiscally strong, programmatically effective, and focused on our mission of ending hunger and homelessness. Over the past year we have been grateful to expand our prevention program and our permanent housing programs continue to have a high retention rate.   In each one of our programs you can see growth and success. 

Needs Statement

The fiscal crisis of the last several years has resulted in a markedly increased demand for the services that the Somerville Homeless Coalition provides: emergency shelter, homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, support to obtain and maintain permanent housing, and food. Combined with that are increasing property values and an inadequate supply of affordable housing.  Many of the people we serve have some form of disability, adding more barriers and challenges for them to obtain housing.
Our programs and services provide an excellent return -- while it costs the state up to $36,000 a year to house a homeless family in a motel, we can house them in an affordable apartment and provide supportive services for about $20,000 a year.  And the average cost for us to prevent a family or individual from becoming homeless is less than $1,000. 
While the Somerville Homeless Coalition is a fiscally strong organization, the prospect of cuts, particularly from the federal government, threatens our effectiveness. 
We are working pro-actively to expand our circle of private support, specifically to increase our fundraising goals from $730,000 in FY 16 to $800,000 by FY17, 26% of our overall operating budget (up from 20% in FY14).

CEO Statement

I am continually struck by our communities response of support for our work; we have exceeded all of our fundraising goals for the last 14 years.  Unfortunately, the safety net continues to be frayed and our resources are not enough to meet the need of all the people coming to us for help.  We are focused on expanding our network to better meet the need and I would like to talk with anyone interested in working with us.

Board Chair Statement

Nine years ago while volunteering for Community Action partners at the Harvard Business School I did some pro bono work for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. What I found is an organization dedicated to helping people move from homelessness into a home and to help prevent those near homeless from losing their homes. I was so impressed with the organization and its mission that I joined the board.

We have an 18 member Board of Directors that includes a broad section of our community both skill wise and geographically. The Board meets regularly and has several subcommittees to oversee the organization, making sure SHC stays focused on its mission, to make sure that the organization is fiscally sound and to evaluate and hire the executive director.

Unfortunately, homelessness continues to increase because of exceptionally high housing costs (compared to other parts of the state and the nation) and a limited supply of affordable housing. We are seeing the working poor becoming homeless. We are seeing more and more people at our food pantry because they cannot afford food since so much of their income goes to shelter.

What is most exciting is the organization’s success rate in preventing people from becoming homeless and in providing case management for those experiencing homelessness to help them transition into homes. It’s the case management which SHC provides that sets this organization apart from others serving homelessness. Young adults, single mothers, people with disabilities, and returning veterans all need help navigating the system as they move from homelessness to a home. Without this assistance the bureaucracy is daunting and many never make it.

A recent challenge is that we discovered last fall that an employee had been embezzling and mismanaging our funds. We have taken swift action in addressing this situation:

* We fired the employee; 
* We hired an interim financial manager and extra support staff to sort through the mess and set up a new, more effective and efficient financial management system;
* We brought the matter to the attention of our major funders (HUD, our state and city elected officials, United Way) and are cooperating fully with them in their investigation and oversight;
* The board has stepped up to review and update our operations and procedures and to be more engaged in oversight;
* We hired a new audit firm (AAFCPAs). 

Our biggest challenge is that our major sources of funding are from government programs, and those are in jeopardy of being cut. Three years ago we suffered a cut of $60,000 from the federal government’s budget sequestration. In April of 2016 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) notified us that they are discontinuing a $240,000 grant to fund our case management services that help people move from being homeless to housed.

We are working to make ourselves less dependent on government funding by increasing the amount of private support we receive from foundations, corporations and individuals. Four years ago we added a full-time Director of Development position to our staff and have experienced an increase of about 10% in private funding each year since then; we are raising 35% more now than four years ago.

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
We are based in Somerville and serve homeless families and individuals from the Greater Boston area.  Our family and adult shelters are located in Somerville, and our supportive housing apartments are located in Somerville, Arlington, Chelsea, Everett, and Medford. Our food pantries are limited to Somerville residents.

Organization Categories

  1. Housing, Shelter - Housing & Shelter NEC
  2. Human Services - Homeless Services/Centers
  3. Food, Agriculture & Nutrition - Food Banks, Food Pantries

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Case Management

Each week, 15 to 20 prospective clients contact us, seeking help to obtain permanent housing.  Our case managers recognize that whether their clients are living on the streets, in a halfway house, or in a shelter, each individual and family has a unique set of circumstance that led to their homelessness.  Looking at each client holistically, case managers work to address the root causes of their homelessness.  Individual service plans include housing search assistance and placement, income enhancement, securing benefits, financial literacy, medical and behavioral health referrals, repairing credit histories, legal assistance referrals, and assistance with reaching education goals and obtaining employment.
During 2015, case managers worked with 292 people in 218 households.  36% of them moved into permanent housing. 
Unfortunately, this program was defunded by HUD in May, 2016, as HUD sought to  focus all their resources on housing.  But it is case management that helps our clients, with huge barriers to address, including serious disabilities, landlord references, criminal records and bad credit, to achieve the housing.  
We are currently talking to both public and private sources to keep this program operational. 
Budget  $296,544.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Case Management
Population Served Homeless Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success  Short-term success is measured by a client achieving the individual goals established with the case manager that will improve their chances of obtaining and maintaining permanent housing, such as completing housing applications, applying for benefits (such as SSI and SSDI), working with a primary care physician or other medical practitioner(s), getting an educational degree or certificate, getting employed.
Program Long-Term Success  Long-term success is measured by our clients obtaining and maintaining permanent housing.  In 2012, we provided case management services to 323 people, and achieved a 64% housing placement rate.
Program Success Monitored By  Program Success is monitored by each case manager and their supervisor.
Examples of Program Success  In 2012, we provided case management services to 323 people, who achieved a 64% housing placement rate.  One such person is Donald, who came to us from the Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services.  He applied for rental assistance when his landlord refused to renew his lease, as his part-time salary was not enough to pay the full monthly rent.  Donald, who lives with and cares for an older, disabled brother, struggled with the thought that without help they might be facing homelessness.  SHC was able to provide short term rental assistance, which allowed Donald and his brother to stay in their apartment and time to apply for and get placed into safe and stable permanent subsidized housing through the Somerville Housing Authority.  Working with his case manager, he obtained health coverage and he and his brother were able to receive necessary medical care and services.

Emergency Shelter

SHC's innovative programs have evolved in response to the complex circumstances affecting our clients. Many of our programs are offered in collaboration with other nonprofit agencies, such as the Somerville Community Corporation, and government agencies including the Housing Authority, Department of Health and HUD.  In 2015, we served 2,105 people including 665 children through our adult and family emergency shelters, homeless prevention programs, case management, supportive services and food pantry and meals program.
* Emergency Shelters -- we maintain two shelters, one for adults, housing 12 men and 4 women; and another for five families (and it is the only family shelter in Somerville). These shelters provide supportive and nurturing environments for people to regain stability and prepare to transition to permanent, independent housing.  Basic necessities such as meals, clothing, linens, and toiletries are provided, along with individualized case management for each guest.  In 2015 75% of the families and 48% of the individuals in our shelters moved into permanent housing.
Budget  $607,184.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Emergency Shelter
Population Served Adults Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  While staying in our shelters, guests work intensively with case managers to take the steps necessary to transition to permanent housing, such as pursuing medical, legal and social service referrals, applying for housing, accessing education and job training, enhancing income, and improving skills for living independently.  Each individualized service plan is developed between the client and his or her case manager; completion of each step is a success.
Program Long-Term Success  Long-term success is for our guests to obtain and maintain permanent housing.  The average stay for any guest ranges from 6 months to 18 months.
Program Success Monitored By  Case managers and their supervisors monitor the progress of each client's service plan through weekly meetings.  For clients in the sobriety and stabilization program, random drug testing is conducted.  For clients receiving supportive services, a staff member visits with them in their home on a regular basis.
Examples of Program Success 
In 2012:
Of the 16 families that resided in the Family Shelter, 100% of those who exited were placed in permanent housing.
Of the 60 people served in the Adult Shelter, 45% left the shelter for permanent housing.  The shelter is always at 100% capacity and guests do not need to leave until they obtain housing as long as they abide by the shelter's rules.

Homelessness Prevention

The Rapid Response Program, our fastest growing service, makes targeted financial grants to applicants at-risk of becoming homeless due to over due rent or utilities, usually as a result of a sudden financial crisis. In 2015 we prevented 319 people from becoming homeless, including 120 children.   
At an average cost of $1,000 per household, this program is the most economical response to homelessness, by keeping people in their current housing rather than incurring the expense of transitioning into and then out of a shelter, as well as the emotional cost of the trauma of becoming displaced.
Our Prevention and Stabilization Services (PASS) program provides rental assistance to homeless people who are getting re-housed and those at-risk of becoming homeless.  Qualified applicants receive a housing subsidy (12-24 months), as well as case management.  This program fills an urgent need as rents in the Greater Boston area continue to escalate and government assistance programs contract.
Budget  $622,750.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Housing Expense Assistance
Population Served Adults Families Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success 

Prospective program recipients will successfully complete an application for assistance, including reporting on sources of income and overdue utilities and/or rent. Applicant selection is based on their demonstrated ability to manage the circumstance(s) leading to their need for assistance. Selected applicants may also work with our case management services.

Program Long-Term Success  Long-term, program recipients will have managed the circumstances which led to their needing financial assistance to remain housed.   They may have increased their income by successfully applying for benefits, gaining or improving their employment skills, and/or obtaining a job; improved their budgeting skills through working with their case manager and/or by attending a financial management course with one of our collaborating agencies; and/or moved to a more affordable home, again with support and advocacy from a case manager.  We may not know directly if they have achieved success, other than that they have not re-applied for assistance in 12 or 24 months.  Over the past two years we have begun to implement a survey to follow up with clients to assess their long-term success more specifically.
Program Success Monitored By 
Success in the Rapid Response Program is measured by the length of time a client remains housed.  HUD defines success as seven consecutive months housed, while we measure success in years.  
Program outcomes are monitored by the program manager who reviews the applications.  A tracking system is maintained to record all applicants, whether they were approved, and either the assistance they received, or the reason(s) why they were not approved and any referrals offered.  Follow-up survey data is also tabulated by the Program Manager.
Examples of Program Success 
In 2013, 221 people were prevented from becoming homeless, including 100 children.  The impact of this program has grown significantly in the short time since its inception in 2010 when it first served 140 people.
The Prevention Programs are instrumental in helping our shelter clients move into their own apartments by helping with start-up costs, which can be a barrier to getting housed.
Most prevention clients are housed, but at risk of becoming homeless, such as Donald, who lives with and cares for an older, disabled brother. He applied for rental assistance, as his part-time salary was not enough to pay the full monthly rent.  Our Prevention Program provided short term rental assistance, allowing Donald and his brother to stay in their apartment and time to apply for and get placed into safe and stable permanent subsidized housing. Donald also worked with a case manager to obtain health coverage, which made it possible for them to receive necessary medical care and services. 

Project SOUP - Food Pantry and Meals

Since 1969, Project SOUP (Share Our United Pantry) has provided food and other resources to hungry residents of Somerville.  In 2012, the acquisition of a walk-in cooler greatly enhanced the variety and quality of food available through our food pantry, adding fresh produce and dairy to the non-perishable staples.  Our two local food pantries and home delivery of groceries help meet the nutritional needs of individuals, families, elderly, disabled, and our home-bound neighbors.  Our Monday night community dinner offers a warm meal in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
Staff also help clients apply for other benefits, such as WIC and food stamps/SNAP.
Working with local agencies, students and volunteers, we also run a Food Recovery Network, identifying sources of good food that would otherwise go to waste (such as grocery stores and farmers markets), collecting it, and distributing it to food delivery outlets, such as our food pantry and other programs.
During 2015 SOUP distributed 8,593 bags of food to over 520 households. 
Budget  $137,311.00
Category  Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Hunger Action
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Families Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Program Short-Term Success 
Short-term success is signing people up to receive our services.  In 2012, 241 new households used our food pantry.  
Another measure of success is the breadth of support we receive for this program, from individuals making donations, to groups and organizations holding food drives and volunteering to prepare meals. 
Program Long-Term Success  We are working to put ourselves out of business, and the ultimate success would be people not needing to access a food pantry or community meal.  Until that time, long-term success will be measured by people using our services to meet their nutritional needs.  
Program Success Monitored By  Program Success monitored by program manager and supervisor.
Examples of Program Success  In 2012 we had 2,719 visits and served 1,344 people, including 486 children and 143 elders; 53% are disabled and 25% are unemployed.  Of those, 241 were new households accessing this program.  

Supportive Housing

Our supportive housing programs provide access to affordable housing with case management support to address the unique needs of our clients, many of whom were chronically homeless and sustain one or more disabilities.  While the federal government measures success in number of months that a person is housed, we have clients who have been housed for up to 9 years, a tremendous accomplishment.
Our Shelter-Plus-Care program makes it possible for homeless people with disabilities to move from emergency shelters and the streets to their own apartments while continuing to receive support and wrap-around services from SHC.
Our Better Homes programs provide supportive stabilization services to newly housed families and individuals with a goal of having participants live independently and become, as much as possible, self-sufficient members of our community.   Services include assistance with transitioning from homelessness to independent living situations and in-home case management visits.
Our Sobriety and Stability program provides permanent housing and supportive services to homeless young adults (aged 18 to 24) who are recovering from addiction and have a strong desire and demonstrated commitment to continue their sobriety. 
We currently have 162 people, including 44 children, in our housing programs. 
Budget  $1,037,077.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Affordable Housing
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers Homeless
Program Short-Term Success  Short-term successes for our supportive housing clients include keeping regular appointments with their case managers, achieving the weekly or monthly goals established with their case managers (such as making doctor's appointments, job searches, attending school, remaining clean and sober, etc.).
Program Long-Term Success  The longer our supportive housing clients remain in their permanent housing, the greater our long-term success.
Program Success Monitored By  Program success is monitored by each case manager and their supervisor.
Examples of Program Success 
Many of our supportive housing clients have remained permanently housed for the entirety of their time working with us, be it one year or six years.  The longer we offer these programs, the greater our success is.  
One specific success story from 2012 is Freddy, who was homeless off and on for 30 years.  His past included being a high school dropout, struggling with substance abuse, being incarcerated, and living on the streets.  In August of 2011 he entered our Adult Shelter.  He worked with his case manager to fill out many applications for affordable housing.  After he was selected from a lottery, and then declined, due to his criminal record, with coaching from his case manager he was able to effectively advocate for himself, demonstrating how much he had reformed.  In 2013 he was able to move into an apartment of his own, for the first time in his life.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The strength of our organization lies in the supportive services we provide to people on the street, in shelter, and in housing.  We are the safety net and are working with people that no one else will work with.  Our Housing Services provide safe, subsidized housing to formerly homeless families and individuals and the support they need to stay housed.  Our other area of focus is prevention; the fiscal and emotional costs of homelessness, coupled with the lack of available affordable housing makes it imperative for us to do all we can to prevent families from becoming homeless in the first place.


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Mark Alston-Follansbee
CEO Term Start Nov 2000
CEO Email
CEO Experience Mark became concerned for the homeless after talking to men on the street and finding out that many were veterans. He was in Vietnam in 1967 and the experience changed his life. Angry that these men were not being cared for, he did volunteer work for the homeless with the City of Cambridge in 1986 and became one of their first case workers in 1987. He worked at Shelter, Inc. in Cambridge for over 12 years and has been the Director of the Somerville Homeless Coalition since November, 2000.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Kathryn Benjamin Director of Development --
Lisa Davidson Director of Housing Services --
Michael Libby Director of Programs --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Powderhouse Award Non Profit of the Year Somerville Chamber of Commerce 2014
A Call to Action Somerville Martin Luther King Jr 2012
Community Partner of the Year United Way of Mass Bay 2012


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Homes for Families, Massachusetts Shelter and Housing Association, the Coalition for Homeless Individuals

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


We believe in leveraging the resources of existing organizations, working in collaboration with them, rather than recreating those services, while focusing on our areas of expertise.
We are active with the Somerville/Arlington Continuum of Care, coordinating housing placements and supportive services.
 We partner with the Somerville Community Corporation

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 25
Number of Part Time Staff 11
Number of Volunteers 600
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 92%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 31
Hispanic/Latino: 3
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 23
Male: 13
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Tom White
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Chair Term June 2014 - June 2015
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jeffrey Bernstein Community volunteer Voting
Ryan Bliss Community Volunteer Voting
Tom Cornu Trinity Management Voting
Conrad Crawford Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Voting
Laura Gitelson Community Volunteer Voting
Adam Hornstine Wilmer Hale Law Voting
Wesley K. Blair, III Brookline Bank Voting
Gisela L. Margotta Vice President, East Cambridge Savings Bank Voting
Stephanie Linakis Road Scholars Voting
Deborah Morgan Community Volunteer Voting
Carol Sexton Cambridge Savings Bank Voting
Diane Sullivan Homes for Families Policy Strategist Voting
Serena Taylor Community Volunteer Voting
Thalia Tringo Real Estate Broker, Thalia Tringo & Associates Realtors Voting
Jeffrey Waxman Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Private Client Voting
Tom White Community volunteer Voting
Sharon Zimmerman Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 17
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 10
Male: 8
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 73%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 33%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $3,165,093 $3,218,644 $3,026,797
Total Expenses $3,285,844 $3,100,610 $3,102,529

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$66,550 $99,275 $88,539
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $397,596 $339,341 $275,192
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $2,382,499 $2,490,659 $2,422,845
Investment Income, Net of Losses $718 $1,115 $1,178
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $235,850 $213,636 $168,538
Revenue In-Kind $81,880 $74,618 $70,505
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $2,550,527 $2,497,539 $2,551,741
Administration Expense $391,170 $327,725 $303,924
Fundraising Expense $344,147 $275,346 $246,864
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.96 1.04 0.98
Program Expense/Total Expenses 78% 81% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 49% 42% 46%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $928,551 $820,136 $788,489
Current Assets $844,580 $724,629 $709,150
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $405,056 $175,890 $262,277
Total Net Assets $523,495 $644,246 $526,212

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 4.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 2.09 4.12 2.70

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

During our recent 2015 financial audit, we learned that one of our trusted, long-time employees had engaged in financial misconduct over a period of at least the last two years.  Upon detecting the conduct, we confronted the individual and terminated his employment soon thereafter.  We also immediately hired a new interim  Finance Director who is a Certified Public Accountant with extensive operating experience.
 Our interim Finance Director promptly undertook a review of our financial accounts and records over the past two years.  His review determined that the misconduct included: (i) obtaining funding advances from federal grants for our operations based on false certifications; (ii) misappropriating SHC's funds for personal use (in FY'15 the individual appears to have misappropriated an amount equal to approximately 4% of our annual budget); and (iii) paying certain employees and agents "under the table" for work performed.  From all that we have seen, we believe that only a single individual was involved in the misconduct.
We at SHC were shocked and disappointed, to say the least, by our former colleague's breach of trust.  We want to emphasize several matters concerning our response to this news.  First, our Interim Financial Director has led the initial review of the matter internally, under the direction of our Board.  We also are being advised on the matter on a pro bono basis by experienced outside legal counsel, who in turn are receiving pro bono accounting support for their review of the issues.
Second, since the matter relates, in part, to federal funding, we contacted the appropriate authorities and we have apprised them fully of what we have uncovered.  Third, we will consider all legal options to recover SHC's losses to the fullest extent feasible.
Fourth, we have taken this opportunity to completely re-evaluate and to strengthen our financial controls and our organizational governance environment.  While our previous annual audits had never identified any significant weaknesses in our financial controls, our interim Finance Director already has put in place stronger internal controls, including clear segregation of duties, around all financial transactions and accounting matters.  We also are evaluating our approach to governance, and are in the process of formulating and adopting changes to increase the extent of Board oversight over financial matters to make sure that, as an organization, we minimize the risk that something like this will ever happen again.  Finally, we have just hired AAFCPA as our new auditors.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's audited financials. Specific information pertaining to revenue sources was provided by the organization per the Form 990s for fiscal year 2012. Government revenue sources are contained under earned revenue when the breakout was not available.
For the FY15 audit, the independent auditors issued a qualification to their opinion regarding inadequate accounting controls over compliance with grant agreements. Please review the Auditors opinion for further information.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

The Somerville Homeless Coalition began 30 years ago with a shelter for individuals, added a family shelter in 1987, and took over Project SOUP -- begun in 1969 -- in 1996.  These three programs continue to be our foundational emergency response to homelessness and hunger in our community.  
Recognizing that people experiencing homelessness need more than a bed to recover from being homeless, we added Case Management Services in 1997. During 2015 our case managers worked with 292 people, from 218 households (which included 77 children), and helped 36% move into permanent housing.
In 2001 we began permanent housing programs because we realized no one had the capacity to build enough housing for the people we work with. Unfortunately our ability to create more housing is constrained by the amount of money appropriated by the federal government and it is decreasing.  In 2004 we began to shift our focus to homeless prevention, a much more cost effective and humane strategy.  Our goal is to keep people in their homes and insure they have the ability to sustain themselves with enough food and safe shelter.  
Our permanent housing programs are funded by the federal government; HUD defines success by having someone stay in housing for seven months.  Our goal is to have our clients stay in permanent housing for the rest of their lives and our housing retention rate is over 90%.   For our prevention program, our aim is to continue to gather unrestricted funds in order to serve the different needs of people asking for our help.  In 2015 we were able to prevent homelessness for 319 people, including 120 children, in 149 households.  This was possible because of our increased fundraising.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Our core competencies are preventing people from falling into homelessness and giving them supportive services whether they are on the street, in a shelter, or in permanent housing to help insure their stability.  While the state and many agencies are focused on quantity (the state thinks a case manager can have 50 to 60 clients), we focus on quality (and 12 to 13 clients per case manager).  Our fiscal strategy is to garner all of the public funds we can, educate our community about what the unmet need is, and develop relationships with individuals, businesses and foundations for private donations that allow us to provide the range of services and support necessary to keep our clients housed.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

We have five full-time workers providing support to all of our clients in housing, we have three full time staff focusing on case management for anyone in Somerville who is homeless (assisting with addressing various barriers and challenges to accessing and maintaining housing), and we have two full-time staff working in our prevention program to keep people housed.  We are active locally, heading up the Somerville/Arlington Continuum of Care, partnering with the Somerville Community Corporation on housing and supporting chronically homeless families and individuals and the Community Action Agency of Somerville on preventing homelessness; regionally with Homes for Families, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and the Coalition for Homeless Individuals; and federally, working with our legislators to craft and support legislation to expand the safety net and create the housing that can end homelessness.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Unfortunately homelessness in Massachusetts is rising, primarily because of the high cost of housing and the lack of subsidies for very poor people to afford housing in the metropolitan area.  As soon as we get someone into permanent housing there is someone else at our front door asking for shelter and help with housing.  
Approximately 4,500 homeless families live in shelters and motels in Massachusetts (source: Mass. Coalition for Homeless - This number does not include countless other families and individuals who are “doubled up,” living with family or friends.
Poverty is a major contributing factor, with many of these homeless households headed by a working adult earning minimum wage, or who is under-employed. The poverty rate in Massachusetts (defined as a family of four living on less than $24,000) continues to increase, from 11.4% in 2010 to 11.6% in 2011 to 11.9% in 2012 (the most recent census data available). Somerville residents experience a higher rate of poverty than the average for the state, at 15-16%** (source: Further, governmental support for such households is limited, with Federal Section 8 housing vouchers in short supply, and other rental subsidy programs (e.g. Mass Rental Voucher Program) underfunded for the need.

Another significant contributing factor is an inadequate supply of affordable housing, which is an increasingly acute problem in Somerville as property values and rents rise well above the state average. Many households at-risk for becoming homeless are “cost-burdened,” meaning that they are paying more than 50% of their income on rent.

Because affordable housing is so scarce, it is especially important to keep families who have housing in their homes. The financial cost, for the State, to have families enter the shelter system can cost up to $36,000 a year (and Massachusetts has a constitutional mandate for Right To Shelter), and the physical, mental and emotional costs are also great.
We measure progress by the number of people we are able to work with each year, especially the number we are able to prevent from becoming homeless. Over the past five years we have prevented almost 2,000 people, families and individuals, from becoming homeless.  While we accept that much of our work in prevention is a band aid to the problem of poverty, we do a rigorous assessment of everyone asking for help to insure that we are not putting our limited resources into a situation that can't be sustained with our help.  We have also worked with staff from Abt Associates in Cambridge to develop a housing survey of our prevention clients in order to have longitudinal data on the effectiveness of our program.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

As long as people are living in poverty we will have people hungry and homeless.  Our work is to help as many people in our community as possible.  We have identified and responded to the unmet needs around hunger and homelessness, first with our two shelters, managing Project SOUP, case management for everyone homeless in Somerville, our permanent housing programs, and our focus on permanent housing.  We know the answer to homelessness is a home and we know that preventing someone, a family or an individual, from becoming homeless is both cost effective and ethically superior to having them endure the hardships homeless people face daily.  As a society we have failed to find consensus on dealing with the poor; as an agency we work every day to address both the basic needs and to find permanent solutions to the problems our clients face.