[Hpn] Citys Annual Homeless Count Up From Last Year

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 6 Feb 2005 02:39:10 -0500


Febuary 6, 2005

City's annual homeless count up from last year

By Tim Grace, Enterprise staff writer

BROCKTON - The city's homeless population is up slightly from last year,
with a recent count turning up 70 people.
About 30 volunteers working with the MainSpring Coalition for the Homeless
fanned out over the city between 10 p.m. and midnight Jan. 25 to carry out
the fifth annual homeless census.
"It was quite an effort," MainSpring Executive Director Dennis Carman said.
"I'm kind of surprised we found that many, given the inclement weather."
The Blizzard of 2005 hit the region on the weekend before the count was
Carman said the legwork was done by MainSpring staffers, students from
Stonehill College, city employees, including health and human services
director Bob Martin, people from the district attorney's office and others.
With maps and flashlights, they searched beneath railroad bridges, through
the city center and woods near the Westgate Mall, in emergency rooms and
into every nook that might shelter a person from the elements.
MainSpring does the count to document the level of need to state and federal
agencies that provide the bulk of its funding.
Last year's count turned up 66 homeless in the city and another 33 in the
Plymouth-Kingston area.
This year, the number of homeless in the city rose to 70, but the total in
Plymouth-Kingston fell to 25.
Of the city's 70 homeless, 30 had found refuge in the Brockton Area Recovery
Center, 201 Main St., a privately run shelter.
Homeless families and individuals staying in state-sanctioned shelters and
rehabilitation centers were not included in the count.
Adding in everyone enrolled in local programs, Carman said, the city's total
homeless population is probably close to 300.
The Fire and Police departments in communities not included in the count
have been asked to report homeless people they have come across in their
communities to MainSpring.
Based on a study done by the UMass Center for Social Policy, it is estimated
there are 11,600 people in Massachusetts who have sought services at a
shelter. This figure does not include those living on the street who did not
seek services.
State Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced
last month that programs in Massachusetts will receive $60.3 million to
provide shelter and care for people and families without a home of their
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, roughly 3.5 million
people - about one percent of the country's population - will experience
homelessness in any given year.

The Enterprise, 60 Main St., P.O. Box 1450, Brockton, MA 02303-1450
Telephone: (508) 586-6200