13 Feb Nonprofit proposes ideas for addressing the underlying causes of homelessness in Massachusetts
White paper entitled, “Moving from Rhetoric to Results: Recommendations to Reduce Family Homelessness in Massachusetts”
BOSTON–A group of housing nonprofits has offered a roadmap out of the current homelessness crisis plaguing Massachusetts. In a new white paper released today, Feb. 13, the ten members of the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts submit their recommendations to address the underlying causes to homelessness in the Commonwealth. Entitled “Moving from Rhetoric to Results: Recommendations to Reduce Family Homelessness in Massachusetts,” the paper is a collaborative effort to analyze the current problem and offer solutions for an effective reduction in family homelessness.
Despite laudable efforts by the state to alleviate the problem, the resources currently set aside for homelessness and homelessness prevention programs are not enough to stem the tide.
“With homelessness in Massachusetts at its highest point in the thirty-year history since the shelter system was created, it’s clear that action must be taken,” said Maureen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts. “More Americans live in poverty today than at any time in decades. We’re seeing numbers like those in the 1960’s, before the war on poverty. Something has to be done to turn those numbers around.”
The authors of the paper put forth 18 recommendations, among them raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour, supporting creation of new affordable housing, and increasing affordable access to public transportation.
One theme throughout the paper was the need to coordinate programs and services to help families and individuals meet all their needs, including education, training and employment support, health care services, child care, and transportation. “If we want to make a generational change and see families increase their economic stability,” the paper states,” they must have access to the tools they need to support those efforts.”
“The problem is that there are simply far more families at risk of homelessness than in the past,” said Chris Norris, executive director of Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, a member of the Regional Housing Network. “Simply addressing housing is not enough to effectively end homelessness. We need a multifaceted approach that takes the whole person, the whole family into account.”
The paper will be circulated throughout the state at regional legislative events, beginning this Friday, Feb. 14, in Springfield.
To view the white paper, visit the Advocacy and Public Policy section of www.mbhp.org.