HUD Archives: News Releases

Kristine Foye
(617) 994-8218
For Release
January 30, 2007

Program has helped hundreds of area at-risk youth get a new start

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Young people who lack basic education face a lifetime of underemployment and can be at higher risk of homelessness. Today, YWCA of Western Massachusetts got a boost with the announcement of a grant that will bring skills, diplomas and new affordable housing to Springfield.

The $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to continue the successful YouthBuild program. The grant, which was announced by HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell and Mayor Charles Ryan, is part of $45.5 million in funding nationwide to help thousands of low-income young people who never finished high school return to school to earn their diplomas, while training them for a future in the construction
trades and other careers. YouthBuild grants provide funding to offer job training and leadership skills to more than 3,000 young adults in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that challenge unemployed and
undereducated residents ages 16-24 to work toward their GED or high school diploma while learning construction
skills by building or renovating affordable housing for low-income and homeless individuals.

"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Caswell. "The YWCA has an excellent track record using this funding to help these teenagers earn their diplomas and start them
on a new career path. At the same time we are producing affordable homes for low-income families, which creates another advantage for the community."

The YWCA has received a total of $2.5 million in HUD funding since the YouthBuild program's inception in 1998.
During this time, 235 people, who previously lacked basic education skills, have successfully gone through the
program and eight new houses have been constructed.

"YouthBuild is a national model with a Springfield flavor and YWCA twist," said Mary Reardon Johnson, executive director, YWCA of Western Massachusetts. "We are thrilled to enter our tenth year of providing this exceptional program."

With this funding, YWCA will partner with the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity to provide education and life skills training to area teenagers while constructing two new houses.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and


Content Archived: June 27, 2011