The Homeless Services Providers Network began in 1994 with a small group of service providers, began meeting to discuss the problem of homelessness in New Bedford. This small group began meeting monthly to identify collaborative strategies to address the increasingly complex set of needs of homeless people-and the increasing number of people faced with homelessness. The group lead by City of New Bedford Office of Housing and Community Development formally organized itself in 1999 into an interactive collaborative volunteer network that has grown to over 70 agencies.
The City had been, and continues to be, the lead organization for the HSPN. In 2001, the City assisted the HSPN in gaining greater independence by forming a more structured organization. Sub-committees were organized, as well as an executive committee and officers and operational protocols. Annual elections, monthly meetings, quarterly sub-committee meetings as well as periodic retreats were organized to better coordinate resources in New Bedford with the needs of the area’s homeless.