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Mariann Bucina Roca: A small gesture changes everything


meet marianna bucina roca

Today on the Feisworld Podcast, you will meet Mariann Bucina Roca, an Executive Director from the Friends of Boston\’s Homeless (FOBH). Did you know that Boston is a pioneer in addressing the needs of the homeless? As part of this movement, FOBH plays a key role in helping homeless individuals transition from the streets and shelters to lead stable, independent lives. One main focus for FOBH is to remove the final barriers that city and state programs don’t have the means to address.

I invited Mariann, who has devoted 20 years of her life to speak about a variety of programs offered by FOBH in the City of Boston including: Housing First, vocational training, workforce development, adult education, employment services,  transitional and permanent affordable housing, as well as the emergency shelters.

In the past 5 years, I’ve attended every one of FOBH\’s annual events, thanks to Matt Lindley, a Board Member at FOBH, and a lifelong friend and mentor.

In addition to FOBH, I hope you will learn something about Mariann, whose journey in helping not-for-profit organizations started long before FOBH. Her earliest memory goes back to when she was just a little girl in Chicago.

Mariann didn\’t choose an easy or a conventional path. During our conversation, she speaks to her joy and challenges, and reasons behind why she continues to fuel her passion with creativity and devotion. As a result of, Mariann told me that \”90% of the people do not return to homelessness\” and \”FOBH has a proven business model other cities can model after.\”


Tara Brach, meditation teacher, said the following on her podcast:

Devotional Practices: The sacred feminine expresses the realization of our belonging, our innate interdependence with all of life

Beloved Community points to our potential for living together with love, justice and respect.

To learn more about FOBH, please visit their website, Facebook, YouTube (Success Stories videos) and learn more about these amazing volunteer opportunities.

I also want to dedicate this episode to the Founder and President of FOBH, John Rosenthal for helping homeless people in need for over 25 years.

Show Notes:

  • Why was Boston considered a pioneer in addressing homeless needs? [5:30]

  • How is FOBH structured (so that it can support the various programs offered in Boston)? [8:30]

  • Why does FOBH believe in teaching homeless individuals skills they can use? [10:30]

  • Mariann\’s childhood stories (where it all began) [17:30]

  • How do others go about getting involved at FOBH? [22:15]

  • The Annual \”Beyond Shelter\” Gala [23:45]

  • \”Project Lighthouse\” – education and employment resource program [25:15]

  • \”Homeless people are just like the rest of us. By just BEING THERE is helpful\” [27:30]

  • How do people overcome the fear of talking to homeless people? [33:15]

  • How did Mariann see homeless differently when she was young girl? [35:45]

  • Can homelessness be solved? The Housing First Initiative [40:00]

  • \”Give them the roots\” – the importance of providing housing first [45.15]

  • 90% of the people do NOT return to homelessness [51:30]

  • FOBH has a business model other cities can learn from [52:00]

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave your comment below and share the podcast with your family and friends. Your support will keep me on track and bring many other unsung heroes to this podcast.

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Photos by Friends of Boston Homeless


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