SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The number of individuals experiencing homelessness is on the rise nationwide.
A new report from the Wall Street Journal found that homelessness cases are up all over the country especially in major urban areas like Boston. Last year, homelessness in the U.S. increased 0.3 percent compared to 2020.
An influx of those seeking shelter over in Boston has led to an overflow of people who are experiencing homelessness coming to Springfield and other surrounding communities.
“They’re running out of room and places to keep them so they’ve been slowly migrating out this way. And it depends too, because Massachusetts has that guarantee that anybody who’s homeless will at least have a roof over their head,” said Kevin Ramsdell, Executive Director of the Springfield Rescue Mission.
Ramsdell says they’re doing all they can to meet increased demand for food, clothing and shelter… and they’re not alone in facing strained resources.
“It’s a whole host of reasons that are supporting this, including things like a shortage in rental vacancies, especially a shortage in affordable rental vacancies, and we’ve also seen the end of eviction moratorium that existed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Karin Jeffers, President and CEO of Clinical & Support Options.
As far as what can be done to address the ongoing crisis, “There is no simple solution to this really. I think it’s going to take a lot of legislative personnel to get involved in this to come up with some other systems that would work better than what we’re doing now. Right now, all we’re doing is putting a band-aid on it.”
Massachusetts falls within the top 10 states with the highest number of homeless individuals with an estimated 15,500 people without a home.