JP Resident Tapped as Special Advisor on Homelessness in Boston

Jamaica Plain resident Laila Bernstein was named the city’s first advisor to Mayor Marty Walsh for his Initiative to End Chronic Homelessness.

“Laila has proven her capacity to lead the City and our partners through major reforms to the homeless response system, skillfully navigating the perspectives of diverse — and at times competing – stakeholders and bureaucracies,” said Walsh via press release. “She is absolutely committed to action, and to getting results, and has the vision and expertise that we need to reach our ambitious goals.”

The position was first outlined in the City’s “Action Plan to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness in Boston.”

Bernstein had already been working on the city’s effort to end chronic homelessness with the Department of Neighborhood Development since fall of 2014.

The city says it has ended chronic homelessness of veterans, reduced the number of homeless veterans ever in Boston and is now targeting to end chronic homeless throughout the city, which Bernstein will be one of the leaders for the city. Bernstein will work to bring in new partners, including business leaders, additional state agencies, non-profits and faith-based groups, to help end chronic homelessness.

Before working for the city, Bernstein was the Director of Data and Evaluation for the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. There she analyzed homelessness policy to inform investments in supportive housing. She also co-authored Massachusetts’ first strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness among veterans.

Bernstein holds dual Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Social Work from the University of Michigan.