Anti-poverty activists gathered in Springfield, Massachusetts today at the site where a tent city for the homeless sprang up 10 years ago.
About 50 people rallied on the lawn in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral -- the mother church of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese – in the city center where the homeless encampment dubbed “Sanctuary City” started on May 13, 2004.
A statewide coalition of 30 organizations that assist homeless individuals in Massachusetts is lobbying the state legislature for an increase in funding. State funding for their programs has remained stagnant for more than a decade. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with William Miller, executive director of Friends of the Homeless in Springfield.
A pilot program in western Massachusetts to place homeless people in permanent jobs so that they can eventually leave shelters has far exceeded its first- year goal. The state’s top housing official announced funding will be available to attempt to replicate the program’s success in other regions of the state.
Community leaders in Saratoga Springs are seeking to establish a Code Blue program, just days after a woman succumbed to the elements outside the Saratoga Senior Center on a freezing night.
During the recent cold snap, 54-year-old Nancy Pitts died outside the Saratoga Senior Center. Now officials are working to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Mayor-elect Joanne Yepsen is leading the charge to establish a Code Blue program in Saratoga Springs. During a Code Blue alert, emergency shelters open their doors to anyone when the temperature dips below 10 degrees.
There has been a big drop in the number of homeless families staying in motels at taxpayer expense in Massachusetts. The state’s top housing official is confident a goal can be met to completely end the controversial practice.
The state aims to phase out the use of motel rooms as emergency shelters for homeless families over the next 18 months and halt the program completely by June 30, 2014. Aaron Gornstein, the Undersecretary of The Department of Housing and Community Development said eliminating the motel system is in the best interest of taxpayers and homeless families.
The natural gas explosion in downtown Springfield Massachusetts last week dealt a blow to the homeless. There is a shortage of beds at a time of year when demand for accommodations typically increases. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
An 18 room single occupancy apartment building for low income tenants and a 60 bed nighttime shelter for the homeless were damaged by the blast and ordered by building inspectors to close pending repairs.