BOSTON – May 31, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Thursday, May 30, 2013 – As part of Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray’s transition, the Lieutenant Governor today announced new leadership to chair and oversee policies to end and prevent homelessness, substance abuse and sexual and domestic violence. Since his first term in office, the Lieutenant Governor has been the Administration’s lead on these three major policy initiatives to help some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable populations.
Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein of the Department of Housing and Homelessness will chair the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH); Secretary John Polanowicz of Health and Human Services and Secretary Andrea Cabral of Public Safety and Security will co-chair the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence; and Acting Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett of the Department of Public Health will chair the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention.
“It has been an extremely humbling experience to work in collaboration with dedicated partners including service providers, advocates and legislators to deliver critical resources to those who truly need it,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “In doing so, we have increased communication throughout state government, proposed and implemented strategic reforms and policies and have improved the lives for many individuals and families here in Massachusetts. I thank Governor Patrick for the opportunity to take on these key issues, and I know the work will continue through the strong leadership of this Administration.”
Under the Lieutenant Governor’s leadership in the effort to end homelessness, the Patrick-Murray Administration has overseen a 30 percent decrease in homeless families living in motels across the Commonwealth since November 2012. The transformation of the emergency shelter system began when Lieutenant Governor Murray initiated the transition of the shelter system to the Department of Housing and Community Development in 2009. As Chair of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, Lieutenant Governor Murray also oversaw the development of the Commonwealth’s Plan to End Homelessness Among Veterans. Released in March 2013, this plan has a goal of reducing the number of homeless veterans by 1,000 by 2015, which will virtually eliminate homelessness among this population. Now with a more seamless access to housing resources for those who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, and with increased resources being devoted to prevention and permanent housing, Massachusetts has accelerated housing placements and ensured more effective resource targeting. To expand one of the resources that will assist homeless individuals and families secure permanent housing, in December 2012, the Lieutenant Governor announced the goal of creating 1,000 units of supportive housing by December 2015. Since Lieutenant Governor Murray announced this goal, the Commonwealth is now approximately one-third of the way towards reaching that goal.
“No one has been a more thoughtful and consistent advocate for homeless individuals, veterans and families than Lieutenant Governor Murray,” said Undersecretary Gornstein. “I look forward to chairing the ICHH and continuing our shared mission of ending homelessness in the Commonwealth.”
“Lieutenant Governor Murray has made ending homelessness a key part of his policy agenda,” said Susanne Beaton, Director of Special Initiatives for the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation. “We are grateful for his passion and partnership in keeping this issue front and center as we work towards ending homelessness in the Commonwealth.”
After Governor Deval Patrick issued Executive Order No. 486 in June 2007 to create the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Lieutenant Governor Murray has been an actively engaged leader within the community. Among key accomplishments, Lieutenant Governor Murray has helped to advocate for critical legislation and guidelines including the “Sexual and Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Guidelines” disseminated to police departments throughout the Commonwealth by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security; the passage and authorization of the updated “Victims Bill of Rights,” providing improved security for victims and witnesses; the passage of authorization of the “Harassment Restraining Order” legislation, ordering greater protection for victims of sexual abuse, stalking and intimidation; and the “Sexual and Domestic Violence Zero Tolerance Executive Order” by the Governor, implementing a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence and sexual assault in the workplace for state agencies within the Commonwealth.
“Throughout his career, Lieutenant Governor Murray has been a true leader on these issues and I hope to continue the Patrick-Murray Administration’s strong advocacy on behalf of victims and their families,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “I am proud to join Secretary Cabral as co-chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence at this critical time.”
“As the Council Chairman, Lieutenant Governor Murray has been a champion for the rights and protection of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Secretary Cabral. “He has developed an impressive list of accomplishments, and I am honored to continue his great work on the Council. I look forward to teaming with Secretary Polanowicz on these critical issues.”
“On behalf of Jane Doe Inc.’s Board of Directors, member programs and staff, I cannot overstate how Lieutenant Governor Murray has used his position to help promote dialogue, improve practice and help save lives,” said Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc. “JDI presented Lieutenant Governor Murray with our first Bill Delahunt Award for Extraordinary Public Service because we recognized his leadership in helping to prevent and end sexual and domestic violence through such initiatives as JDI’s White Ribbon Day Campaign and his commitment to making sure that all victims get the support, services and resources they need. His quick action in engaging communities that are ravaged by domestic violence homicides is just one example of how he stood up to the challenge and brought people together across disciplines to find solutions.”
In 2008, Governor Patrick re-established by Executive Order No. 496 the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention and named Lieutenant Governor Murray as Chair of the Council. For more than five years, Lieutenant Governor Murray has helped to expand the state’s recovery high school program while also advocating for improved screening and brief intervention in medical settings, opioid overdose prevention education and Narcan distribution to prevent overdoses. In 2010, the Council issued an update to its five-year Substance Abuse Strategic Plan and continues to move forward on key initiatives to combat substance use and abuse in communities across the state.
“Thanks to the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Murray, the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention has made tremendous progress in combating opioid abuse through a number of important policy actions,” said Acting Commissioner Bartlett. “I look forward to building on the Council’s list of accomplishments, from the expansion of recovery high schools to improved screening and intervention in medical settings, to the success of the Narcan overdose reversal program. The Council’s five-year Substance Abuse Strategic Plan provides a valuable roadmap as we move forward on critical, life-saving initiatives for individuals and families.”
“Throughout his tenure, Lieutenant Governor Murray led the Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention with full attention to the gamut of issues facing individuals and families in the recovery process,” said Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery. “He clearly demonstrated support to help prevent drug addiction, as well as interventions for drug overdose prevention. With an emphasis on building a sound foundation and policy, he understands the need for recovery high schools, recovery centers and recovery support in prison. It is an honor to have experienced his support for addiction prevention, treatment and recovery!”
To learn more about the Lieutenant Governor’s work on these issues, please see the attached documents for accomplishments and next steps for each council, or visit www.mass.gov/governor/ltgovernor.