The grant supports the creation of the program, which will work to connect housing-insecure patrons with housing programs and other social services in Boston. It also includes the establishment of a Library Social Worker position and two Peer Navigators, who have had personal experience with loss of housing. The Peer Navigators will work across multiple branches including: Chinatown, Fields Corner, East Boston, Honan-Allston, Mattapan, South End, and West End.
The creation of the program is part of the BPL’s efforts to formalize its social services offerings. In 2017, the Library began to actively support homeless patrons with the creation of an Outreach Manager position at the Central Library. The initiative resulted from a partnership between Mayor Walsh, the City of Boston’s Department of
Neighborhood Development, and the Pine Street Inn shelter. The Peer Navigator program will complement the existing services.
Similar Peer Navigator outreach programs have been launched in libraries across the country, including San Francisco, Denver, and Washington DC.