Thanks to the dedication and compassion of a School Committee member and the generosity of an advocacy group, Everett High School (EHS) has received a grant to help students in need of housing assistance.
The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA), a nonprofit public policy advocacy organization dedicated to ending homelessness, has presented EHS with a $30,000 grant to help identify students who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. The program will be administered by the EHS Guidance Department and the Parent Information Center located at City Hall.
Ward 5 School Committee member Marcony Almeida-Barros organized a meeting between MHSA President and Executive Director Joe Finn and Guidance Director Kathleen McCormack, which led to the establishment of the grant program.
“When I learned that nearly 200 students in our district don’t have a place to call home, I was heartbroken,” Almeida-Barros said. “I worked with Mr. Finn, the EHS guidance department, and our Parent Information Center to bring in funding to mitigate the situation. I’m thrilled and thankful that MHSA heard my call for help. By working together, this $30,000 program will greatly assist our students and families who are in a housing crisis. My goal is to work on a long-term solution and I will only rest when all of our students have a safe place to call home.”
The goals of the project are to help students achieve immediate housing stability and improved educational outcomes, including decreased absenteeism, improved school grades, and higher graduation rates. The grant funds may be used to help students and their families with rent, emergency shelter, food, and transportation.
The partnership between EHS and the MHSA was formally introduced to the Everett School Committee at the regular meeting on Monday, January 7, 2019.
Continued progress with Everett’s streetlight conversion
The City of Everett has been working with Tanko Lighting to complete a City-wide conversion to energy-efficient streetlights. Everett will join a growing number of Boston area municipalities, which have converted their streetlights from high-pressure sodium (HPS) to light emitting diodes (LED). This project will replace approximately 2,400 streetlights throughout Everett, including standard streetlights called cobra heads, and a small number of decorative flood lights.
LED lighting technology has been used in small electronic devices for decades and has recently advanced to streetlight applications. LED streetlights are proven to be more efficient than HPS fixtures, have an expected lifespan of over 20 years, and produce a higher quality of light than HPS streetlights. The higher quality of light allows the human eye to see more details and colors.
LED streetlight fixtures also have greater control over light distribution. LEDs can produce a lighting pattern that emits light more evenly across the street, improving visibility while decreasing light trespass into residences and light pollution. Precise light distribution combined with higher light quality allows the replacement of higher wattage HPS fixtures with lower wattage LED fixtures, significantly reducing energy consumption.
Mayor DeMaria stated, “We want to reduce our City’s energy consumption and maintenance costs associated with street lighting. Installing LED streetlight fixtures will save energy, require less maintenance, and will provide citizens with better light quality on streets and roadways. We also want to complete the LED conversion to create more consistent street lighting throughout the City. After the conversion is completed, the City is estimated to save approximately $345,000 in energy costs annually. In addition, the City will prevent an estimated 530,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.”
The City of Everett is working with a local contractor to convert all City-owned streetlights starting in late January 2019. The installation is expected to continue through March. To minimize the environmental impact of the program, the existing HPS streetlights will be recycled in accordance with federal and state environmental guidelines.