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Forum Post: Mass. Homeless Program Faces ‘Tsunami Of Need’

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 12, 2012, 8:02 a.m. EST by GirlFriday (17435)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

This is a great article. I am pulling some snippets: Massachusetts set a record last year in the number of homeless families living in hotels. When homeless shelters are full, the state uses the hotels for temporary housing.

A new program has helped reduce the number of families living in hotels, but there is so much demand that officials worry the numbers could go back up.

In August, the program began providing emergency housing funds and long-term rental assistance to low-income families. The $40 million program helped some 3,000 families and dramatically reduced the number of those living in hotels. But by October, there were so many people seeking assistance that the program had to be curtailed.

“I would describe it as a tsunami of need,” said Chris Norris, executive director of the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, a nonprofit that administers affordable housing programs in Greater Boston. To qualify for the HomeBase program, a family must earn less than 115 percent of the federal poverty level. So a family the size of Rivera’s would have to make less than $34,000 a year. Norris says thousands of families are in similar situations.

“We have more than 100,000 families on our wait-list right now statewide for rental assistance. It’s a nine-year wait,” Norris said. http://www.wbur.org/2012/01/12/homeless-in-hotels


Does your state or county have any programs such as this? Are you familiar with the homeless population in your area?

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40 Comments


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[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22311) 2 years ago

And, Massachusetts is in pretty good shape compared to a lot of states.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Agreed. But, I have noticed a trend in the media that when they discuss homelessness it is usually focusing on someone that can reinforce stereotype.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (22311) 2 years ago

Good point. So true.

Re: MA: You can always count on Massachusetts to shed light on issues like these where other more conservative states will sweep them under the rug.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I agree, again. I'm not too fond of Boston Globe anymore but they usually do not play around.

[-] 0 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

Few see the extra costs that the poor and homeless have forced upon them. To name a few, there's sales taxes, paying late fees, buying one meal at a time, payday loans, crime, dilapidated transportation, job searching and of course health expenditures.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Yes!!!

On top of this there are poverty profiteers.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Yes!! All "rent-to-own" or, as I call them, "rent-to-repossess" businesses and payday loan businesses should be closed, or replaced with gov't run programs that work in the public good and eliminate usury. Likewise, pawn shops and jewelry stores should be forced by law to pay an equitable percentage on the goods purchased for resale from the public.

These policies would go some way toward curbing inner city poverty profiteering.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

They are ridiculous.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Sometimes properties need to be disposed of...rotting floors, broken rafters, aren't fixes that are reasonable. HOWEVER, there are millions of homes that are repairable, minimal expense for materials, sweat equity from the homeless would turn these homes into an addition to a city tax base, while helping a family keep a roof over their heads.

Years ago Philadelphia had a program that insured entire blocks remained stable and actually improved in affluence. Homes sold for $1.00, that's right $1.00. The catch was the homes had to be brought up to code within a time frame (I forget what that time frame was). Many of these homes were apartments, former rentals, now owned by the tenants. They worked together, made the building a communal project, did the work for the most part themselves and cleaned up not only their building, but their neighborhood.

There used to be a program, I believe there still is, but it's been cut so often and so much it's nearly ineffective. This program used to pay half of a qualified person's hire, businesses as well as communities were eligible for the program, work quotas (number of weeks worked) could range from 6 months to 18 months. Training and experience was the benefit along with wages for those workers who participated.

A great many remained in their positions when the program ended, permanent employment via the path of a program which wasn't really a training program.

Some may call these give away programs, but they aren't. Homes, which are part of a cities and counties tax base, jobs which are taxed at the state and federal level. Incomes injected into the economy, homes which provide work for maintenance, material suppliers, and hundreds of other workers.

These were a win-win in the 70's, they can be a win-win today.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (8719) 2 years ago

There is simply something fundamentally sick about a society that tears down abandoned houses when these numbers of families are homeless.

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I agree. There is something fundamentally sick with a society that creates laws that jail homeless people simply because.

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

The high price of homes a few years ago, drove up the cost of rent. The foreclosure of banks on those homes has....you guessed it, driven up the cost of rent.

Most subsidized rent programs, do not address the necessity of having to have money for utilities, transportation, medical and food. The owners of apartment properties won't rent unless the renter has the means to be a good neighbor, so they require that the applicant's income be as much as three times the cost of rent. This, in part, is to curb crime in the complex.

There's many that operate multiple apartment buildings, with the primary purpose of getting wealthy, not off of the renters, but by creating tax credits,(shelters). Congress wrote, (or at least signed), the HUD low income housing bills, and created the tax loopholes. It needs better management.

[+] -5 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I encountered a website of owners of apartments that were discussing raising the rent to specifically profit off of those that had lost their homes through foreclosure. This was some years ago. I believe that driving cost to be intentional.

It does need better management.

Qualifications for programs in my area have penalized entire families due to an arrest of one individual in the family. They are usually evicted. When the shelters are full. They are full.

That said, different cities, towns and states have enacted different laws in dealing with homelessness. Like so: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/crimreport/meanestcities.html

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22311) 2 years ago

My kids have two friends right now on the verge of losing their homes. Both families have adults who work full-time. One family has a house that is paid off, but they cannot afford the property tax on the low wage they earn at one of the big discount retail stores. The other suffered job loss and a decrease in pay. This is so good that you are shedding light on all of this, GirlFriday. I, of course, have offered my home to both, if need be and I have paid for one of the kids' extracurricular stuff, college application fees, SAT fees, prom fees,etc. We must look out for those in need.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

You are wonderful! I mean it.

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (22311) 2 years ago

No. Not at all. But you are, for doing such a great job on this forum.

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

Job bills could easily create more low skilled jobs, but that would compete with someone in business.

The homeless are vital to the 1% as prisoners. They are REAL job creators, and don't think the justice system and government contractors don't use them.

Perhaps the HUD apartment tax credit scheme could be broadened to allow all taxpayers a chance to own a share of rental property, and get tax credits. The "investment property clubs" could use some competition. Don't WE have some friends in D.C.?

[+] -6 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Why would I support that? I want to close the loopholes not hand out tax credit crap to everybody else so that they too can have the same opportunity to scam tax payers and in some instances fail to deliver or raise the rents that are not affordable for the target groups.

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

My argument is that even low income people pay taxes. A credit available to these people could result in even renters being able to buy their own complexes. It might even result in better living conditions. The HUD tax credit probably has helped. I just think that with some creativity from tax legislators, that lower income people could participate in the ownership, (and management), of rental property.

[+] -5 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I would like for them to be able to buy their own complexes. I think that would be a great opportunity. I would like it much further if what we had was total public housing that was managed by the government-instead of hiring a "management" company.

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

There used to be hundreds of units nearby, but they and others were boarded up years ago. Too expensive to tear down now. The idea that everyone live in a government house is better than homelessness. The present vouchers try to integrate the homeless into society, rather than isolate them. Their having income is crucial.

[-] -2 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

Remember the projects in Chicago? Bulldozed. Why? Shitholes. Government run rat infested shitholes. Minneapolis projects? Gone. Government run rat infested shitholes. Sure their are many privately owned firetraps that are rat infested. However, a landlord typically wants to keep up the property, keep the cash flow going, and provide a decent product at a fair market price. Bureaucrats are not good at running things very well. Look at big ears, the community organizer for a good example of incompetence.

[+] -5 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I'm well aware of the history of Cabrini Green as well as the pulling resources such as cops from the area and "urban renewal". How about the Robert Taylor homes?

There is this little thing called maintenance and this other little thing called police.patrols. It is ongoing and we don't just find ways to ditch them as soon as the possibility that the land becomes coveted.

You might actually have to pay police. I know. I'm just being silly here. But, they aren't just here to protect the rich.

[-] -1 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

I don't believe government does a good job at much of anything. Most of police resources are not spent on the hated rich.

[+] -4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Actually, it does quite well what you let it do what it needs to do. When you cut funding to a specific program then you have stripped it of its ability to function. Contrary to popular belief you do not get to turn around and say that it doesn't do a good job afterwards. At least have the decency to 'fess up and say that it works but that you don't want it to work and that it is intentional and deliberately setting it up for failure in cases such as this.

Most of police resources are spread quite thin period. Do more with less .You are being deliberately obtuse here.

[-] -1 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

The trouble with this huge massive government is that it never contracts, it only keeps getting bigger and bigger. It's like the philosophy is any program is a good program. No one has the guts to look at any program with some intellectual honesty. It is very disturbing that we are so far in debt and government keeps growing and growing. Minnesota shut the government down last summer for three weeks. Governor Dayton wanted more spending, even though spending was increased by a full 8% over the biennium. He wanted more! Many people's incomes have contracted, but never government.

[+] -4 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Oh, I understand. I am still waiting for somebody to grow a pair and look at the Social Security and tell stay at home parents that if they don't have enough credits then they cannot use their spouses credits to collect. Nobody likes to hear that though.

You see, the problem that we have is that government works quite well when it is allowed to. When you cut specific funding to a specific program then you strip it of it's ability to function appropriately.

Period.

[-] -1 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

Like Obamas payroll tax holiday in the form of social security tax holiday? Robbing from the elderly and disabled. He's such a good man. Phony political hack, is more like it. Most 6th graders are smarter than this professor.

[-] -1 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 2 years ago

http://tucsoncitizen.com/usa-today-news/2012/01/11/obama-wants-tax-breaks-for-insourcing-jobs/

"President Obama will propose tax breaks for companies that bring jobs back to the United States as part of an effort to boost the economic recovery."

BS, lefties love loopholes, if they didn't, he'd be IMPLEMENTING tariffs on imports instead of merely proposing more complicated tax code to employ more CPA's and attorneys to milk more tax credits for doing right by our nation with it's unprotected and "INCENTIVIZED" outsourcing, multi-national ass sucking, trade borders, which have been destroying the American economy and jobs for years.

Why can't your boy do right and show he has some sense? He gave you NDAA 2012 and you're talking smack about Libertarian empowered states hanging pot smokers.

Hypocrite.

[+] -7 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Ssshhh. The adults are talking, Frog. Be a good boy and go troll someone else. K?

[-] 0 points by FrogWithWings (1367) 2 years ago

Newsflash, only the same children that put Obama in office support him, although most grew up and realized the liberal con-man is just another Bush.

There is little hope of you growing out of it.

[-] -1 points by Carlitini99 (-167) 2 years ago

we need to help. Maybe Anne Hatheway, Alect Balwin, Susan Saradon can offer up their homes to help out. Kind of like when Katrina happened, hollywood opened its arms (i.e. 'curb your enthusiasm')

[+] -5 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

We need more subsidized housing. We need housing to be revalued to reflect the reality of average income. Rents and mortgages need to be brought back to reality. They should reflect what can be paid by the average family or single person. Then going beyond that, we need to expand available subsidized housing for the poor. Subsidized housing exists but there is not enough of it to meet the immediate need, waiting lists to get into a unit are years long.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

We are the 99%.

Take action. See samples of how below.

184,401 signatures so far for Bernie Sanders petition as of 11:07am central time 01/16/2012

http://sanders.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?mailaction=clickthru&gpiv=2100081904.557411.411&gen=1&mailing_linkid=34578

The petition to save abandoned houses has 16 signatures. We picked one up at around 11:07am 01/16/2012. Were just rolling right along.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Savingpeople-savinghomes-payingdowntheNationaldeficit/

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb

Sierra Club has some good things to take part in as well. Set-up and ready for you to take part in. http://sierraclub.org/

[-] 0 points by Gimmeyours (-16) 2 years ago

If you're against poverty, you'll also like these people. If you're against poverty, surely you have the brains to stop importing more.

http://www.minutemanproject.com/

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Take action. See samples of how below.

183,361 signatures so far for Bernie Sanders petition as of 10:15am central time 01/15/2012

http://sanders.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?mailaction=clickthru&gpiv=2100081904.557411.411&gen=1&mailing_linkid=34578

The petition to save abandoned houses has 15 signatures. We picked one up at around 9:50pm 01/13/2012. Were just rolling right along.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Savingpeople-savinghomes-payingdowntheNationaldeficit/

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb

Sierra Club has some good things to take part in as well. Set-up and ready for you to take part in. http://sierraclub.org/

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Here is a place where you can directly address change. Take part, it does not hurt and may very well heal/help. Forward the cause of reform and rebirth.

http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/Ag8nw/zL2Q/B18Bb

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Twittered this post.

[+] -6 points by DKAtoday (22264) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

A huge number of abandoned properties could be saved and dedicated to rehousing families who lost their homes in the economic meltdown.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/irs-could-resellrent-foreclosed-properties/

Proceeds from reselling these properties at reality based prices could be used towards supporting subsidized housing, supporting health care, supporting Social Security, paying down the deficit.

[-] 0 points by Gimmeyours (-16) 2 years ago

Yes, even more people on the tit. Make it bigger! Sure, because as a grown up, it's just not possible for find a way to take care of yourself. Sure, it's just not possible to keep your fucking legs together or use birth control. It's just not possible to finish high school and to be responsible. Yep, feeding, clothing, and housing yourself is just too much for us to ask.