119 HIGH STREET, MYSTIC, CT 06355
The MASH Story
In July of 1997, a homeless woman slept on the steps of the Union Baptist Church in Mystic for three nights in a row. On her last morning there, she joined the worship service and left a dollar bill with a note of thanks in the collection basket.
The Union Baptist Church minister, Reverend Dr. Ken Carpenter, shared the story with his and neighboring congregations. Staff members of area human service departments met with the local faith communities and business groups, and they agreed there was a need to serve homeless families. In 1998 they formed the Mystic Area Shelter & Hospitality. The MASH shelter program opened its doors in 1999.
Since our founding, MASH has provided Emergency Shelter, Rapid Re-Housing and Homelessness Prevention assistance to over 1,000 children and parents in our community.
The Growing Crisis of Family Homelessness in Southeastern Connecticut
During this time of economic difficulty in the United States and here in Connecticut, the need for MASH services to address and prevent homelessness in our community is greater than ever before.
On a single night in 2012, 56 families (including 94 children and 59 parents) were homeless in the Norwich-New London area of Connecticut. Rural and suburban family homelessness throughout the state increased by 33% in 2009, and the numbers have remained high. Over 90% of the adult heads of homeless families in Connecticut are women.
Many families find themselves homeless due to a particular financial crisis: the loss of a job, an unexpected medical bill, or an expensive car repair. With unemployment at approximately 9% in Connecticut, many local families face greater challenges than ever maintaining an adequate family income. Connecticut has the sixth highest cost of housing in the U.S.: many families struggle to afford rent. The dramatic increase in foreclosures in Connecticut adds to the number of local families facing housing instability.
“Ending family homelessness, one family at a time.”
The MASH mission is to assist homeless families and families at risk of losing their housing by providing emergency shelter, as needed, and by helping these families to secure and maintain stable, permanent housing. We seek to impart hope and to respect the dignity of the families we serve.