Pine Street Inn is marking its 50th anniversary with a $50 million fund-raising campaign so it can continue to fight homelessness for many years to come.
It’s the largest fund-raising initiative to date for the organization, which has already raised $36 million toward the campaign to build and maintain housing for the long-term future, officials announced at an anniversary event Thursday night.
“It’s bittersweet,” Lyndia Downie, Pine Street Inn’s president and executive director, said in a telephone interview. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Downie said when people hear about the Pine Street Inn, they often think of it as just a homeless shelter. But it’s actually much more than that. Pine Street currently has 800 units of housing in locations across the city. The goal is to increase that number to 1,000, she said.
The money raised through the “Key Moments” campaign will help create 200 new units of housing, make repairs to existing housing, and provide supportive services to residents.
Downie said the name of the fund-raising campaign — “Key Moments” — refers to the moment when someone receives a key to their new home. “It really says it all,” she said.
Downie said when Pine Street Inn started 50 years ago, they provided “a hot and a cot” — a meal and a bed for the night — for 200 homeless men. Today, Pine Street Inn helps nearly 2,000 men and women each day. The organization recently opened a newly-built, 52-unit residence on Hamilton Street in Dorchester, and plans are underway to build a 225-unit new housing. development in Jamaica Plain, which would house 140 men and women, as well as 85 families.
In addition to emergency shelter, street outreach and permanent housing, Pine Street also provides job training and programs that help people move out of shelters by assisting them with first and last month’s rent and security deposit, Pine Street Inn officials said in a press release.
Downie said that Boston’s rate of street homelessness is under 2 percent, which is among the lowest in the country, but “we’ve still got work to do, without a doubt.”
For more information about Pine Street Inn’s 50th anniversary and the Key Moments Campaign, visit www.pinestreetinn.org/keymoments.