The mission of the Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) is to support and empower community members experiencing homelessness or living in poverty, through material aid, access to resources, and advocacy opportunities. Working with homeless community members and allies, we seek systemic solutions that address the root causes of homelessness, poverty, and inequality.
MAAP envisions a world where housing is a right and not a reward. Where no one is denied or loses housing because they are poor, use drugs, have a substance use disorder, are mentally ill, or have been incarcerated (best - no one is incarcerated). Where housing is used for shelter, not profit. Where people have the ability to live in the communities they choose and with whom they want. They have the support they need to engage in activities that are meaningful to them including parenting, work, education, leisure activities, and being civically engaged. They have access to healthcare including harm reduction, safe consumption sites, voluntary treatment, and mental healthcare.
We will achieve this by organizing with a diverse group of people experiencing homelessness, who will bring their expertise to decision makers at local and state levels. We will help them access the financial and material support they need to organize. Through peer-education, the education and organizing of others within and beyond our community, and strategic grassroots lobbying policy will change. Money will be moved and systems of punishment will be dismantled while housing, healthcare, education, and community-based and run solutions receive permanent investment.
The Material Aid and Advocacy Program (MAAP) began as a program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in 1944 to meet the needs of those who had been displaced and were in dire material need during World War II. Clothing, household goods, hygienic, and hospital supplies were collected, mended, and sent to sites internationally. AFSC’s hope was that once emergency aid was provided further social justice work could get underway. In 2004, MAAP re-focused to solely support our local neighbors in need.
Over 70 years later, MAAP continues to fulfill the mission of what was known as the Emergency Material Aid program (EMAP). By addressing immediate needs and providing material support to the community members we serve, we build connections and mutual respect. MAAP’s relationships are foundational to our ability to work alongside program participants in advocacy, public education, and organizing work. We are guided by their experiences and expertise, to improve their immediate situations, seek long-term solutions to homelessness, and address the systemic causes of homelessness, poverty, and inequality.
For 73 years, MAAP’s work was done as a program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). On October 1, 2017 MAAP became an independent organization, with a temporary fiscal sponsorship from the Friends Meeting at Cambridge. On August 13, 2018 we received our 501(c)3 designation from the IRS.