Touch the Sky, formerly PV Housing Now and the Housing, Incarceration and Immigration Sub-committee developed out of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center in response to the COVID pandemic in March 2020. The original goal was to support direct, mutual aid efforts and legislative initiatives for undocumented people, immigrants, incarcerated people and unhoused people led by various leading organizations in Massachusetts. As we have grown, we have received more and more requests from our unhoused community in Western Massachusetts, who live at the crossroads of incarceration, immigration, poverty and houselessness. These crossroads amplify tenfold the barriers created by state-run institutions, systems and structures in which people live, find safety from violence, attain basic needs, eat, thrive, and rest. As requests have gained momentum, our group has developed, clarifying our focus to respond to mutual aid asks and long-term requests for housing, jobs, transportation, and systemic change in the region.
Who We Are
We are a network of organizers, unhoused people, workers, students, and artists dedicated to mobilizing resources in the upper valley. Our group was originally developed by people in Western Massachusetts who are housed workers stemming from affiliation with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. We united under a passion for supporting our neighbors struggling with houselessness, incarceration, and/or immigrant rights. Initially, the group worked to support the efforts of lead immigrant and incarcerated organizers in Western Mass. Over time, housing issues began to grow priority within the group and in response pivoted to follow the leadership from unhoused people in the valley.
The initiatives we work on grow out of the direct requests and knowledge from unhoused people, with the understanding that unhoused and housing insecure people can and must lead the fight to end houselessness and poverty. With this understanding, we act as a conduit to mobilize and share hoarded resources in the Western Massachusetts upper valley with our unhoused community. We understand that in order for unhoused people to continue leading this fight, we must supply and mobilize the materials, time and resources to get basic needs met, find housing and jobs, and secure other survival needs in the simultaneous work towards long-term structural change and housing for all.