The Newmarket BID employs homeless and addiction challenged individuals in the Newmarket area often referred to as “Mass and Cass” to provide our street beautification services. These workers clean and improve the District daily by completing such jobs as landscaping, trash removal, power washing, graffiti removal and more.

Participants work every day alongside program staff and peer support specialists, who engage them in professional development activities and support their efforts to get into recovery in addition to connecting them to housing supports and physical, mental, and behavioral health providers. It is an important component to the Program that, while we do not require that individuals are sober when they start, they have to be willing to work toward sobriety/recovery during their first several weeks working with us.

BID’s Back2Work Program

In 2018, the Newmarket Business Association, now the Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID), promoted a workforce development program for the homeless to the city, and while it was well received at the time, Boston did not have the ability to assist in funding it. In early 2021, Newmarket began funding the program and for the past year and a half, the Newmarket Business Improvement District has managed the program focused on providing low-threshold same-day work for individuals experiencing shelter instability, homelessness and/or a substance use disorder.

This effort acknowledges the barriers that these individuals face in both applying for jobs, as well as maintaining their employment, and creates a lower barrier approach to suit their needs. As a result of our early success, the Boston Department of Public Health has assisted us with funding over the past 8 months which has led to a significant expansion of the Program.

Through this initiative, the Newmarket BID employs homeless and housing challenged individuals in the Mass and Cass area to provide supplemental services in cleaning and beautifying the area by providing day jobs including landscape beautification, trash removal, power washing, graffiti removal and similar.

We work in close cooperation with the Mayor’s Office, and Recovery, Shelter & Engagement Center Staff to identify/hire those individuals that have a likelihood of success in this program.

Participants work every day alongside program staff and peer support specialists, who engage them in professional development activities and support their connection to social services, such as housing supports, benefits access, and physical, mental, and behavioral health providers.  It is an important component to the Program that, while we do not require that individuals are clean when they come into the Program, they have to be willing to work toward sobriety/recovery during their first several weeks working with us. 

We are very proud of the fact that the majority of our workers are currently in recovery/sobriety and all of the others, while not there yet, are in a much better place than they were previously. In addition, it is also an important part of the

Program that we find more stable housing for our workers and while the vast majority were living in tents a year ago, they are now living in low threshold, supportive housing or in SRO’s or apartments.

The end goal of this initiative is to provide our workers with the opportunity to be hired by local companies in part-time or full-time positions. We have placed close to 40 individuals into jobs in the past year and expect to increase that number by the end of 2023.

Back2Work by the Numbers​

35 Active Crew Members – 115 Total Program Members/Graduates

85% have substance abuse issues.

70% of those are in Recovery/Sobriety and 30% are working their way to recovery/sobriety.

75% with Stable Housing and 25% in Shelter Housing

50 Graduates of the Program have found or been placed into full or part-time jobs.

Testimonies from Back2Work participants

Newmarket BID
Malcolm, began Jan 2022 “This Program has been a blessing to me and my co-workers and this Newmarket Community.  I was sleeping in a tent, on benches or trains.  Now me and my co-workers have housing and clean up the streets in the Newmarket Community. It feels good to work for people who really care.  And I know for a fact they care!  They have harm reduction meetings, take us to the DMV to get IDs –  a lot of us haven’t had IDs in years – and they take us to court so we can address and take care of our warrants cleared.  They are busy and for them to take time out of their busy schedule to go sit in court with us for hours?  That shows they care.  They have really turned this community around. It was a zoo, and I was one of the animals in the zoo.  They didn’t have to give me a chance to work here, because a lot of people want to work here.  There is a wait list.  Getting up every morning in my own apartment really makes me feel good about myself knowing that I am contributing to clean streets in the community .  I really feel blessed to have Sue & Carol in my life.”
Melissa B, began Sept. 2022

“The Back2Work Program has helped me in so many ways.  It’s helped me grow as a person and has given me a purpose.  It has helped me “put one foot in front of the other” into the right direction to change my life and lifestyle.  It has shown me that you can change and become a better person no matter where you’ve been.  It’s helped me bring that Melissa back that I’ve been striving for for a long time.  I just needed that little push and that little bit of love to be able to move in the right direction.  This program is a blessing in so many ways. It’s helped me become a woman of dignity and honor and to know I’m worth it.   To anybody that joins this program… you can get the same results if you put the work in.”

Donnie, began March 2023
Donnie, began March 2023

“This program has given me a semblance of structure and a feeling of having a community.  Then there is also a feeling that I have people that genuinely care about me, and it makes me want to be a better person.  I do feel I need to make a step toward bettering myself….it’s obvious that drugs are an issue, but I ask myself – are they THE issue?”

Tim C, began May 2022
Tim C, began May 2022

“Being in the Back2Work Program has made a significant difference for me and in my life.  First, they gave me hope, strength and instilled confidence back into my feelings.  The program has been nothing but beneficial for me, from giving me a job, helping me get my ID and birth certificate.  The most important, is that they care so much that they do not and will not give up on us.  They also attended court with me and spoke on my behalf.  I never knew people that cared this much for us existed, however, they do!  I am proudly a member of their program.  Everything that has happened has been God’s work from the timing of meeting Carol and Sue until now.  I honestly believe I would not be here if it wasn’t for this program.”

Erik, began Dec. 2023
Erik, began Dec. 2023

“As a member of the Back2Work program, I was able to work on my recovery, set up and attend all my appointments and have a routine, which was important to me to get back on track.”

Tim W, began Sept. 2023
Tim W, began Sept. 2023

“This program has helped me to build some stability back in my life.  I have learned a lot about not being judgmental and having compassion for everyone because there is a story from everyone.  The program gave me a chance to slowly work my way back into the real world by giving me a low-stress job as well as help me with legal issues, housing etc.  The program also helped me establish a sense of well-being and decreased my anxiety knowing I have someone I can trust that cares and is guiding me and looking out for my best interest.  It’s comforting knowing that I am not alone.  It has also helped me mentally and emotionally and I feel like I have a chance and should never give up.  I could go on and on forever ….!”

Tony C, began Dec. 2022
Tony C, began Dec. 2022

“The Back2Work Program has given me a second chance!  It has proven to me that as long as you have people that believe in you, you can build yourself back up to a man of character; so, you start to believe in yourself again.   This program gave me the basic necessities that I needed as a human being, to build my confidence enough to get back with the people I love, and own up to the things that I have done wrong; Our actions speak volumes… more than what our voices saying sorry could ever do.  It has given me a new meaning to my life!  It has humbled me as a man and grown my gratefulness in my faith/God; it is stronger than it has ever been, the Newmarket team has done this for me. Not only has God sent his angels to run this program, God himself has put His hand on this program.  The more funding this program receives, the more impact it can have in helping others.”

Tennessee, began Jan. 2023 & graduated to stable living April 2023
Tennessee, began Jan. 2023 & graduated to stable living April 2023

“My name is William Harrison (most people call me Tennessee). I was a slave to drugs and alcohol when I was introduced to the Back2Work Program.  At that time, I had lost everything…  my home, my car, my wife, and my daughter.  Most of all, I had lost my dignity and self-respect.  After working at the Back2Work program for a while, I started seeing things completely differently.  The whole Newmarket BID team treated me like I was a human instead of some burden to society. They made me feel like I had value and brought responsibility and self-accountability back into my life. When I saw what we did for our community, it filled my heart with pride and love. We made a real difference. We did a lot more than just pick up trash (and we did a lot of that). We helped people that no one else cared for. Over time, I decided I didn’t want to be an addict anymore. I’m happy to say I’m still sober today and got my life back together. My wife and I got our daughter back . We just welcomed twins on Nov. 6th. They’re so beautiful and I can honestly say if not for Newmarket, I would have never made it off the streets. Newmarket gave me more than a job. Newmarket gave me my life.

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