News, Ideas & Impact

June 30, 2022

From hurricane to homeownership: the reinvention of Idalis Rios  

When Idalis Rios and her daughters left Puerto Rico for Springfield in 2017, in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria, she arrived with $600—a gift from her grandfather to help her survive.

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June 7, 2022

Meet community leader Gerardo Torres: “We are supposed to be together, be helping each other”

Essential to the collaborative work that is community building and engagement? Vision—to see potential in residents. To see ways to build trust. To see sparks of hope. But no matter how much preparation goes into bringing such visions to life, there comes a time when the key pieces—the venue, the speakers, the topics—are set. And there’s nothing left to do but close your eyes and let go. And hope there's someone like community leader Gerardo Torres there to catch the ball.

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May 9, 2022

The FSS Program: the right setting, the right time, the right ears

Spotted in front of the Way Finders Housing Center at 1780 Main Street in Springfield on Monday, March 28, 2022? Two women, all smiles. One escrow check, to the tune of $3,500.

This brief exchange—between Way Finders FSS Specialist Evelyn Baez and check recipient Nicole Camacho Torres, a 2022 Family Self-Sufficiency Program graduate—was the culmination of many years of work and effort. 

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April 26, 2022

Coming back from setbacks: “Cynthia’s in victory mode right now”

Sometimes the weight of feeling that you aren’t yet where you’re supposed to be—personally or professionally—can be crushing. Compounded by upheavals to daily life brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this weight can be too much to bear alone. For Cynthia of Springfield, participating in Way Finders’ Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program has meant that she didn’t have to go it alone. 

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April 19, 2022

A pandemic-driven path to homeownership: Meet 2021 FSS graduate Shari Mendez

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives, taken lives, and reshaped how we go about living our lives. For Shari Mendez, who works at a nursing home and is raising six children, the stress of the pandemic was felt both at home and at work.  

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April 15, 2022

Moving forward with Library Commons Phase 2

Way Finders is pleased to receive funding in support of Library Commons 2! The 41-unit scattered site project near downtown Holyoke—on four neighboring sites to the recently completed Library Commons 1—was among the 15 projects across the state to receive affordable housing awards from the Baker-Polito Administration.

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April 12, 2022

Increasingly out of reach? Housing—for residents of Springfield and the Pioneer Valley

Why is housing increasingly out of reach—in terms of availability and affordability—for many in our area? Way Finders’ President and CEO Keith Fairey, in conversation with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill, shares his take. 

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April 6, 2022

“I’m back in the league!”—a profile in patience and perseverance

Growth, pride, confidence, happiness. These are intangible—yet transformational—takeaways from Shlaunia Howard’s experience with Way Finders.

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March 31, 2022

Housing Study: sounding the urgent call for 17,000 new affordable rental units

As detailed by the second housing report from the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and Way Finders, the region is in urgent need of more housing at all income levels—affordable housing through market-rate housing. Of note, the study calls for the addition of at least 17,000 new rental units at or below $500 a month, which could help make a more attainable housing market for all residents.  

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March 29, 2022

Introducing Phase II of the Springfield & Pioneer Valley Housing Report

At Way Finders, we are passionately invested in lifting up the region’s people, places, and systems. To best inform our work—and that of law makers and housing advocates—we strive to understand the big picture. The needs and opportunities, in all their complexities. 

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