Boston area shelter beds grow scarce for homeless FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 15:31:27 -0400


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=46WD  Boston Globe  11/21/98  page B02


BEDS GROW SCARCE FOR HOMELESS
SHELTERS STRUGGLE FOR RISING DEMAND

By Zachary R. Dowdy, Globe Staff


QUINCY - Dan, an overnight guest at Father Bill's Place, can reflect almost
fondly on previous stints of homelessness, when he could book a bed here as
late as 6 p.m. on most nights.

Now, he sees people signing up for a bed by midafternoon, as lines at the
shelter grow longer with winter approaching.

''They're out here at 2 o'clock or 2:30,'' said Dan, who asked that his
last name be withheld, referring to men and women who seek the comfort of
the shelter's clean cots. ''It gets kind of rough. They do need more beds
here.''

Advocates for the homeless say Dan's perspective on the growing homeless
population is borne out by nightly counts. On a recent Thursday night,
=46ather Bill's, which can accommodate 75 people at two sites, sheltered 92.

The same is true at United Homes Adult Shelter in Uphams Corner. Executive
director Philip Wright said thaton a cold night up to 110 men slumber in
cots arranged military barracks-style in the former church sanctuary.

''We're running at higher levels now than last year,'' he said.

Philip Mangano, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter
Alliance, has secured state funding for 500 emergency beds to ease
unprecedented demand at all shelters.

But he and other advocates fault the state for failing to back with cash a
widely praised proposal to take hundreds of people out of crowded shelters
and into temporary housing.

An initiative that would move shelter guests into clean rooms at the
state's YMCAs and YWCAs has already gotten the state's verbal backing, but
no financial support.

''The front door of our system is overflowing,'' Mangano said. ''The back
door is gridlocked. That means we're overflowing at unprecedented levels.''

State officials admit they are impressed with the plan to use YMCAand YWCA
branches and have all but vowed to implement it - but not until early next
year.

''Basically, the first area we wanted to focus on was the overflow beds,''
said David Ball, a spokesman for William O'Leary, state health and human
services secretary. ''Now that we've done that we are moving to the next
stage of their proposal, which is to look at transitional housing.''

Mangano said the problem can't wait that long.

Illustrating the magnitude of the problem, Mangano said that up until the
mid-1990s the shelter system would overflow only during January, February,
and March.

Today, the shelters are overbooked in every month except June, July, and
August.

''It's a perfect flip-flop,'' Mangano said. ''What used to be an issue in
three months of the dead of winter is now a year-round crisis.''

Advocates for the homeless and affordable housing were among the first to
notice vacancy rates at shelters dropping as the stock market soared and
rents spiked.

The rental market, spurred by the booming economy, priced many families and
single adults out of homes and into shelters.

Anticipating the winter crisis, Mangano first submitted the Y proposal in
July to Charles Baker, then state secretary of administration and finance.
In mid-September, Mangano met with O'Leary, who said he loved the plan.

Homeless advocates have also proposed that regional nonprofit housing
authorities purchase, develop, or renovate housing units in order to move
people from temporary housing like the Y into permanent homes.

That plan has not yet been reviewed in detail by the state's Department of
Housing and Community Development.

In the meantime, Mangano waits for delivery of the transitional housing
slots, saying that Band-Aid solutions like new cots are no longer
acceptable.

''We're bringing solutions to the things we're advocating around,'' he
said. ''We have the Ys on board and have made the argument - and it's a
compelling case.''

END FORWARD
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receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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=46WD  Boston Globe  11/21/98  page B02



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>BEDS GROW SCARCE FOR HOMELESS=20

SHELTERS STRUGGLE FOR RISING DEMAND


By Zachary R. Dowdy, Globe Staff

</paraindent>


QUINCY - Dan, an overnight guest at Father Bill's Place, can reflect
almost fondly on previous stints of homelessness, when he could book a
bed here as late as 6 p.m. on most nights.=20


Now, he sees people signing up for a bed by midafternoon, as lines at
the shelter grow longer with winter approaching.=20


''They're out here at 2 o'clock or 2:30,'' said Dan, who asked that his
last name be withheld, referring to men and women who seek the comfort
of the shelter's clean cots. ''It gets kind of rough. They do need more
beds here.''


Advocates for the homeless say Dan's perspective on the growing
homeless population is borne out by nightly counts. On a recent
Thursday night, Father Bill's, which can accommodate 75 people at two
sites, sheltered 92.=20


The same is true at United Homes Adult Shelter in Uphams Corner.
Executive director Philip Wright said thaton a cold night up to 110 men
slumber in cots arranged military barracks-style in the former church
sanctuary.=20


''We're running at higher levels now than last year,'' he said.=20


Philip Mangano, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and
Shelter Alliance, has secured state funding for 500 emergency beds to
ease unprecedented demand at all shelters.=20


But he and other advocates fault the state for failing to back with
cash a widely praised proposal to take hundreds of people out of
crowded shelters and into temporary housing.=20


An initiative that would move shelter guests into clean rooms at the
state's YMCAs and YWCAs has already gotten the state's verbal backing,
but no financial support.=20


''The front door of our system is overflowing,'' Mangano said. ''The
back door is gridlocked. That means we're overflowing at unprecedented
levels.''


State officials admit they are impressed with the plan to use YMCAand
YWCA branches and have all but vowed to implement it - but not until
early next year.=20


''Basically, the first area we wanted to focus on was the overflow
beds,'' said David Ball, a spokesman for William O'Leary, state health
and human services secretary. ''Now that we've done that we are moving
to the next stage of their proposal, which is to look at transitional
housing.''


Mangano said the problem can't wait that long.=20


Illustrating the magnitude of the problem, Mangano said that up until
the mid-1990s the shelter system would overflow only during January,
=46ebruary, and March.=20


Today, the shelters are overbooked in every month except June, July,
and August.=20


''It's a perfect flip-flop,'' Mangano said. ''What used to be an issue
in three months of the dead of winter is now a year-round crisis.''


Advocates for the homeless and affordable housing were among the first
to notice vacancy rates at shelters dropping as the stock market soared
and rents spiked.=20


The rental market, spurred by the booming economy, priced many families
and single adults out of homes and into shelters.=20


Anticipating the winter crisis, Mangano first submitted the Y proposal
in July to Charles Baker, then state secretary of administration and
finance. In mid-September, Mangano met with O'Leary, who said he loved
the plan.=20


Homeless advocates have also proposed that regional nonprofit housing
authorities purchase, develop, or renovate housing units in order to
move people from temporary housing like the Y into permanent homes.=20


That plan has not yet been reviewed in detail by the state's Department
of Housing and Community Development.=20


In the meantime, Mangano waits for delivery of the transitional housing
slots, saying that Band-Aid solutions like new cots are no longer
acceptable.=20


''We're bringing solutions to the things we're advocating around,'' he
said. ''We have the Ys on board and have made the argument - and it's a
compelling case.''


END FORWARD

-=20

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is=
 distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in=
 receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. *=
*


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink=
=2Enet>

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