By Karen LaFrazia, Executive Director of St. Francis House
It’s been a long and difficult winter for individuals experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts. With the closure of the Long Island shelter, the Coalition’s network of shelters, health care workers and job training providers have seen an overflow of men and women in need of a helping hand. The record snowfall has compounded the difficulties our coalition members face as we stretch every resource so that we can protect everyone walking through our doors.
But even before the snow started to fall and the bridge closed, we were seeing an increase in the number of homeless individuals. Our coalition members look at every avenue to address the root causes of homelessness and we’re succeeding. We offer an array of effective services that are moving men and women out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency. But stagnant funding and resources over the past decade has meant that our providers just can’t keep up even while we have developed innovative programs to help homeless individuals. Our state now faces a rising number of individuals experiencing homelessness.
As providers, we’re collaborating to petition the state to allocate more resources to reduce the number of men and women experiencing homelessness in our Commonwealth. With renewed focus from our state leaders, our coalition members can build on our effective programming to rapidly return men and women to stability.