PLEDGE NOW

In Massachusetts, More Families And Individuals Without Housing

Elisabeth Jackson, Executive Director of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, asks a homeless person sleeping in a doorway on Bromfield St. if he needs any assistance. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Elisabeth Jackson, Executive Director of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, asks a homeless person sleeping in a doorway on Bromfield St. if he needs any assistance. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

As winter bears down on us, more and more people across Massachusetts are becoming homeless. Increasingly, families in particular are struggling to make ends meet — and often turning to shelters.

Last night, as temperatures dropped into the single digits, volunteers fanned out across Boston to try to get an accurate count of the number of homeless on the streets and in shelters.

Recent figures from the state show that the number of homeless people has risen 14 percent since 2010, to nearly 20-thousand people last January. And that rise came as homelessness declined nationally. The fastest-growing segment of that population is homeless families, which is at an all-time high, averaging more than 4,000 a night last month.

WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with a panel of experts about who these families are, what’s contributing to homelessness, and what can be done to help.

Guests

Bruce Gellerman, WBUR reporter who covered the 34th Annual Boston Homeless Census

Michael Goodman, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Aaron Gorenstein, Massachusetts undersecretary for Housing and Community Development

Libby Hayes, executive director of the Boston-based advocacy organization Homes for Families

More

WBUR When it comes to dealing with homeless families, Massachusetts is unique. Thirty years ago, the Commonwealth become the first “right to shelter” state, guaranteeing every eligible family a roof over their heads.

WBUR Last year, volunteers counted 6,992 homeless individuals living on city streets and in shelters — a 5.2 percent increase from the year before. That number is expected to rise again this year when the final tally is released in a few weeks.


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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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