LYNN — The Lynn Shelter Association, which assists and enriches the lives of more than 1,000 homeless individuals each year, is re-energized these days. Its shift to a “housing first” model has resulted in 67 families being placed into safe and stable homes, up from 44 a year ago.
“We are so happy every time we hand over the keys to a person or family who were at their lowest point, who addressed the challenges they were struggling with and come through to the other side and obtain stable housing,” said Mark Evans, who joined the organization as executive director in August 2016.
“We are a vital and valid part of this community,” added Evans. “In the last year we’ve received incredible support from city hall, other agencies, everybody. Collaborating with various other agencies has made a big difference, with us all working together to best serve our clients. It makes all of our goals more attainable. Our staff of about 60 works incredibly hard, and our volunteers and board of directors are energetic and excellent.”
The association’s major annual fundraiser, a fashion show inspired by its successful Succeed in Style program, will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, 6-8 p.m. at Zimman’s on Market Street. The iconic city business’ second-floor furniture showroom will be transformed into a cocktail party space and fashion runway.
Samantha Wheeler, director of Development and co-organizer of the event with board vice president Dr. Alison Brookes, said the association’s mission is to provide housing and supportive services to homeless individuals and families, fostering self-sufficiency and a return to independent life as quickly as possible.
“Succeed in Style is the theme of the fashion show,” said Wheeler, who added that LSA clients, a staff member and community leaders will model the latest fashions from artisans and local merchants, including the Golden Hanger consignment store in Beverly. Wheeler said the fashion show is inspired by the recently-launched Succeed in Style program that provides clients with professional attire for occasions and opportunities to guide them toward independence, including preparations for job interviews. The association’s warehouse is stocked with donated clothing to help achieve this goal.
“Some of our clients make jewelry, which will be worn on the runway,” said Wheeler. “A social group that offers support and conversation has evolved from this shared interest in creating and making jewelry.
Models will include state Rep. Daniel Cahill; Greater Lynn Senior Services CEO Paul Crowley; Victoria Ireton, operations director for Seth Moulton For Congress; Brenda Rondon Ortiz, mortgage loan officer at Beverly Bank; Julian Rich, a consultant in the senior/long term care field; and Wendy Silva of Eastern Bank.
Clients receive the association’s services at no cost. It annually provides shelter and care to some 800 individuals and 120 homeless families, and its Adult Emergency Shelter serves 600 people with 44 beds available year-round.
Fashion show tickets, at $75, are available at http://buytickets.at/lynnshelterassociation/116905