Sunday, January 12, 2014

As homelessness increases across Massachusetts,
downtown Boston feels the surge

Local, state, and federal officials have reported record numbers of homeless people in Massachusetts, especially families and youths. In late 2012, city officials counted 6,992 homeless men, women, and children in Boston, 5% more than the year before and 17% more than in 2001.

The increase has been highly visible in the city’s commercial heart.

Officials at the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District have reported a rise in calls about homeless people panhandling and sleeping in the area. As a result, this summer they began conducting monthly counts. In October, they found 40 people sleeping in the street around Macy’s.

With several shelters, soup kitchens, and a range of other services in the area, the homeless have long taken refuge in the alleys and alcoves from Boston Common to the Greenway. What’s changed are the expectations of new residents, business owners, and others who now frequent the neighborhood, said Rosemarie E. Sansone, president of the district.

“What’s happening is that property owners are seeing improvements in investments, and the area has become cleaner,” she said of an area that was once called the Combat Zone. “They’re seeing all these improvements and wondering why we haven’t made an impact with homelessness.”

Read the Boston Globe article here.


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