Nov 2, 2020 in History

Homelessness in Boston

Homelessness is a crisis in Boston that does not just affect the jobless citizens but also the people with employment. According to the Boston Globe Editorial, however, the number of families that spend their nights in the hotels due to lack of shelter has reduced. The Editorial states that 538 families (in Boston) now call a hotel home, and that the numbers reduced from 1,500 in January 2015 when Charlie Baker became the governor. The editorials position, which this essay contends, is that the count of the homeless people in Boston has reduced by about two-thirds. Statistical data proves that the problem is persistent and growing.

The reality of the situation in Boston is that many people do not have homes. The decision of the government to demolish the Long Island Bridge in 2014 may explain the subsequent rise in the number of the destitute. According to Ramirez, the bridge connected the city to the biggest shelter in Boston Harbor Island. The decision to destroy the bridge disconnected Boston from the facility with a bed capacity for450 and other programs to assist the homeless.


The Boston Public Health Commission is an organization that conducts annual surveys on the problem. The statistics from the commission indicates an increasing trend between 2013 and 2015. The number of the critically homeless citizens grew from 415 in 2013 to 568 in 2014. There was a further increase in 2015 as Boston recorded 600 homeless individuals. Treffeisen also reports that although the individuals without shelter grew by 5.6% in 2015, there was an alarming surge of 25% of the homeless families. The 2015 census results revealed 1,543 families that comprised 4,281 children, women, and men lacked homes. According to the statistics from the national organizations, the setback continues affecting many people in Boston. It suggests that many citizens in Boston, including 25% of the residents who have jobs, cannot afford rent. Consequently, homelessness is a crisis, contrary to the editorials argument that it has reduced.

A hypothetical example of a place with the biggest manifestation of homeless people is Massachusetts. The auditors report that Treffeisen analyzes shows that Massachusetts has 1,730 families that cannot afford accommodation. The households depend on the state to pay their accommodation in the hotels and motels. Treffeisen explains that unlike six years ago when the state government spent $1 million on providing the accommodation for such people, the expenditure on 2015 was $40 million. The data that reveals the high rate of expense makes it apparent that more people are becoming homeless than before.

Despite the continuous efforts of the Bostons shelter providers who have expanded their housing programs, the number of families that still rely on the motels for shelter is high. Treffeisen reports that in 2015 176 households spent their nights in the motels, this figure t represented an increase to 17% on 2014. 2015 also saw a 35% of increase in the number of the youths who lacked housing. The 2016 Boston survey results also found that people with mental illness accounted for the highest count of the homeless at 39%. Drug abusers and people with physical disabilities accounted for 35% and 29% respectively; while people with chronic mental conditions were at 26%. The data means that there are specific groups that are vulnerable to homelessness, and as such, the programs must target the particular sections of the Boston society.

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The fact that the social problem has been a serious issue in Bostons history means that it is a long-term predicament in the city. The 2014 picture in Johnsons report provides an apparent scenario of a family sleeping in a Boston church. Johnson draws evidence from the survey that the Conference of Mayors in the USA. The findings of the investigation determined that Boston is the city with the most severe impacts of the agony. The survey included 25 major cities in the USA, and Boston was the leader. 25% of the people without shelter in Boston have jobs. The statistics is much lower in Trenton, N.J. than in Boston, as 4% of the homeless citizens in Trenton have employment. The indication is that the companies in Boston do not pay their employees enough money to afford rent. It also means that there is an extreme gap between the cost of housing and income in Boston.

According to the Editorial, Boston has housing subsidy program called Home-Base. The households that qualify under the arrangement receive an annual subsidy of $8,000. However, the setback for such families is that they may not qualify for the same grant in the subsequent years, which implies that the program lacks sustainability. Besides, the average rent in Boston is $2,000 (Making Homeless Families Lives more Stable). It is possible for the financial support from the state government to fail help the families even in a year. Although the editorial explains the presence of the rental assistance plan in Boston, Johnston asserts there have been substantial cuts. The outcome is the overwhelming number of residents (17,000 according to Johnson) who continuously use the emergency shelters, while other families spend their night on the cold streets. Johnson suggests the need for Boston to align its emergency system with affordable housing (Johnson). Therefore, the government of Boston should not just direct its energy towards subsidizing housing, but it should also address the hitch of affordability.

In conclusion, Boston faces a crisis of homelessness, contrary to the editorials position about the government having reduced the problem. According to the data from the credible institutions, more people, including the employed citizens of Boston, lack homes. The real challenge in the city is affordability of housing, but statistics also show that the groups such as the youth, the mentally ill, and the drug addicts are more vulnerable compared to other populations. Although the state government has a program that subsidizes rent for some of the families, the assistance is inadequate and unsustainable. Consequently, Boston must consider introducing other policies, especially regulating the prices of houses and rent.


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