Libby Lazar Libby Lazar

Libby Lazar has been appointed Arlington’s new homelessness prevention/community resource coordinator. 

In a Feb. 27 town news release, Health & Human Services (HHS) Director Christine Bongiorno and Police Chief Julie Flaherty announced the appointment. Directed by the Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC), Lazar works with the Arlington Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, Somerville Homeless Coalition and other human-service providers in the community. With these organizations, she conducts outreach to, and coordinates services for, the homeless or those at risk for it.

She also works with other Arlington residents to ease access to local and state resources to address housing instability, domestic-violence services, food insecurity, lack of access to health care and other basic needs. 

Bongiorno, Flaherty welcome employee

“Libby is a great addition to the Arlington team,” said Bongiorno in the release. “She brings a collaborative spirit and a wealth of expertise in connecting individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or food insecurity with the support and resources they need.” 

Chief Flaherty said: “We are pleased to welcome Libby to the Homeless Outreach Team. Her background is well suited to the team’s goal to find permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness.” 

Before coming to Arlington, Lazar worked at Housing Families Inc., of Malden,  both as an intensive case manager and housing case manager, supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness. 

“Arlington is a thoughtful and resourceful community,” Lazar said in the release. “So far, I’ve been blown away by the local organizations and their ability to come together for vulnerable residents. I look forward to working with the Arlington community, Homeless Outreach Team and regional partners, to provide support for those in need. This truly is a uniquely supportive and special community” 

Before her job at Housing Families, Lazar taught students with severe autism at New England Center for Children in Ashland. She was also a research associate at Kaleido Biosciences in Bedford.

She holds a bachelor of science in biology, with a minor in chemistry from Rhode Island College, and is pursuing a master's in social work at Boston University. Her many volunteer contributions include being a member of the Boston Chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a facilitator of young Adults, depression and women’s groups at DBSA, Malden Warming Center, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Rosie’s Place.  

Lazar began her role in Arlington last Dec. 1. Her annual salary is $61,496, said Caryn Molloy, town personnel director. Nkeihuka Opara previously held the position.

About Health & Human Services 

The mission of the HHS is to protect the health of the public and help people access basic human needs. Health and Human Services includes the following divisions and programs: Health Department, the AYCC, Council on Aging, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Veterans Service. HHS also works with the following boards and commissions: Board of Health, Board of Youth Services, Council on Aging, Disability Commission, Human Rights Commission, Rainbow Commission, and the Veterans Council. 

About AYCC 

This is a state-licensed, community-based mental health center serving Arlington youth (ages 3 to 21) and their families. AYCC is the leading provider of outpatient and school-based child and adolescent mental health services in Arlington. It offers individual, group and family counseling, psychiatric evaluation and medication management. Central to its mission, AYCC is committed to ensuring that all community youth and families have access to comprehensive, culturally sensitive and high-quality mental-health care, regardless of their ability to pay. In addition to mental health services, AYCC oversees First Step -- a support group for victims and survivors of domestic violence and offers community resource coordination and case management services to Arlington residents experiencing unmet basic needs.   

About Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

The effort began in 2018. This team includes a patrol officer, the Jail Diversion Program (JDP), clinician, a health inspector and staff from the Somerville Homeless Coalition outreach team. The team goes out weekly to identify homeless individuals in the community to provide services and support, with the ultimate goal of finding permanent housing for them. 

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This news announcement was published Friday, March 17, 2023, based on information from the Town Arlington. YourArlington intern Cayla Kwok prepared this report for publication.