Improving Amherst's Economy, By Jannett Chin

I attended a business meeting September 20th in the morning around 9:00. The reason for attending was to try and understand how Amherst’s economy can be improved. This business series presented by Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce & Amherst BID is about improving downtown Amherst's economy. Their goal is to make downtown more lively, appealing, and economically better. One way in improving the economy is by creating housing. There are three business limited zones where no housing can be built. However, there are many other places where housing can be built. 

Amherst is currently ranked #4 for best college town in America. This town is filled with a mix of locals and people from all over. What that says about this town is that many people choose to come here because they think this is a great town full of opportunities. Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce & Amherst BID wants to find out what students want and provide it. They have found out that graduates wanted to stay after college. Graduates are unable to find jobs or housing. So, jobs and housing are trying to be created for these students. 

In order to improve Amherst's economy, the homeless and jobless needs to be helped as well as graduates. I have come across two types of panhandlers. One, the friendly kind where their sign says things along the lines of "Anything helps, God bless you, Thank you". Two, the threatening kind where the sign read "Give me money or I'll vote for Trump". However, I have seen more people sitting on benches relaxing and chatting than the homeless. That is a good sign. But, the economy can be improved if we help the homeless find homes and the jobless find jobs. Housing should be created not just for graduates. The number one priority should be creating affordable housing for panhandlers and helping them find a job. The economy would benefit greatly with no more panhandlers; these residents need help.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, Local News Article, "Amherst initiative to aid homeless"

April 12, 2016 by Scott Merzbach

Reporter Scott Merzbach covers Amherst Community Connections request to the Town of Amherst for $150,000 to fund the community’s first “Housing first” initiative. The initiative seeks to subsidize rent for chronically homeless individuals in order as they get back on their feet and learn the skills needed to become model tenants.

Check out the full article here!

Daily Hampshire Gazette, Letter to the Editor "Abra Lipton: Why ‘housing first’ really is the answer"


by Abra Lipton
August 3, 2016

Abra Lipton, the current editor of ACC's monthly newsletter "What's Up?!", has published her second editorial article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on behalf of ACC. This article stresses the importance of housing first strategies in helping Amherst's local homeless community. After going to Amherst's housing forum in July, Abra knew she needed to spread the word to those who were not at the forum, that the majority of people there agreed that our chronically homeless population needs permanent, supportive housing.

Check out the full article here!

Daily Hampshire Gazette, Op/Ed article “Abra Lipton: seeing past clichés about Valley’s homeless”

by Abra Lipton
May 9, 2016

UMass junior and ACC intern Abra Lipton writes an Op/Ed article highlighting the anonymous narrative that society prescribes to the homeless population. In the article she breaks down this assumption elaborating how the population is a collection of individuals stories, each of which is different than the one before. Lipton praises the agency’s acknowledgment of this societal assumption and their active efforts to combat these assumptions through sharing their participant’s stories of struggle and their successes in their monthly newsletter publication of “What’s Up?!”.

Check out the full article here!