Homelessness has significantly increased in Massachusetts.
Last year’s hurricanes forced many people to relocate to Massachusetts with no place to live.
According to a federal report, the Massachusetts homeless population increased by 2,500 people in 2018 or 14 percent.
That compares with an increase of just one-third of one percent nationally.
Center for Human Development Shelter and Housing Director Theresa Nicholson blames the increase on the arrival of Hurricane Maria evacuees.
Massachusetts is the only state with a right to shelter law, meaning state and local officials must provide shelter to those requesting services.
“If they come and they need some additional support so that they either get diverted from homelessness,” Nicholson told 22News. “If there are longer-term issues where they end up homeless and we want that to be for a very short period of time. We want them to receive the assistance that they need so they never come back to homelessness.”
The Baker Administration has made it a priority to move homeless people from motels and shelters to more stable housing.
Currently, there are about 3,000 people who are homeless in Hampden County.
22News spoke with Zoulmarie Perez, a formerly homeless single mother who used shelter services to find employment and subsidized housing. She said the help is there for people who need it.
“Take advantage of the services being offered to you they are there to help you, but you also need to help yourself too and your family,” Perez told 22News.
According to the report, there are currently 20,000 people listed as homeless in Massachusetts.