Pine Street Inn, hopeFound may merge

Two of Boston’s largest homeless shelters will decide by the fall whether to merge.

Pine Street Inn in Chinatown and Jamaica Plain’s hopeFound are in advanced talks to explore the benefits of combining managerial staff. The two nonprofits currently interact in several partnerships, and would have a combined support staff of 550 people.

If the new entity is created, it would manage a total of 767 shelter beds, 112 outpatient treatment beds and 732 units of housing. Currently, Pine Street offers 597 shelter beds and 588 housing units; hopeFound has 170 shelter beds and 144 housing units.

The organization would serve roughly 13,000 to 15,000 people annually, and would be an “outgrowth of an already strong working relationship,’’ according to Lyndia Downie, the executive director of Pine Street.

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“For the past few years, lots of the agencies in the city have been working very closely together,’’ Downie said, adding that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino “has really charged us with how to make sure we are really connected together.’’

Mary Nee, executive director of hopeFound, said their was no reason to believe a merger would result in staff reductions. “We see this as a tremendous benefit for the people we’re serving,’’ she said.

Pine Street opened in 1969 as a haven for those suffering from alcoholism. It combats homelessness and addiction, and and offers job training. Its services are distributed daily to more than 1,300 people Greater Boston.

HopeFound was established 25 years ago to address homelessness. It helps more than 400 people rehabilitate and find jobs annually, and advocates physical fitness through its Bulldog Running Club.

The Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits provided $29,000 to hire a consultant to assess the feasibility of a merger of the two agencies. established by the Boston Foundation and three other charities, the catalyst Fund is designed to help nonprofits find creative ways to work together or merge to make the most of their resources.

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