Boston winter homeless funding announced by Mayor Menino FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 25 Oct 1999 16:47:03 -0700 (PDT)


http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302
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FWD  AP Wire Service - Oct 24,1999 15:43

     MENINO ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR HOMELESS FOR WINTER

     By JAY LINDSAY
     Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ Hoping to prevent the string of homeless deaths
that hit the city last winter, Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Sunday
announced millions of dollars of funding for homeless services,
including new outreach workers, affordable housing units and rental
assistance.

Menino said the city's commitment to the homeless had to be made
be made before bitter cold hit the region.

``We always react,'' he said. ``This year we act.''

Homeless advocates said the funding comes at a key time because
of overflow conditions at homeless shelters.

The state's homeless shelters haven't had enough beds to meet
demand for 11 straight months and 20 of the last 23 months,
according to Philip Mangano of the Massachusetts Housing and
Shelter Alliance.

With Boston hosting 67 percent of the state's beds for homeless
adults, Mangano said the city's help is vital.

``There's no question that the commitment made today will keep
homeless people alive,'' he said. ``I would not be here if this
were rhetoric. These are real resources and real dollars.''

After seven homeless people died from the cold on Boston streets
last winter, the city scrambled to open up additional beds. This
year, Menino said he wanted resources to be in place before the
first snowfall.

This city's plan provides 90 more emergency beds at the city's
Long Island Shelter. It also adds $160,000 for a van and three Pine
Street Inn outreach workers to patrol the streets overnight
assisting people who need shelter. The new outreach team will
augment a team already in place.

To help those who are close to moving off the streets, the city
earmarked $4.5 million for affordable housing, with priority given
to projects that provide housing for homeless. In addition, the
city pledged $150,000 for rent payments for single adults moving
out of shelters.

On Sunday, Menino also lobbied state officials to raise the
maximum hourly wage under which people qualify for housing
assistance from $6 to $8.

Renee Dozier, 21, said the wage restriction disqualified her
from housing help because she was making $7 an hour at an Easton
calling center. She said her 3-year-old son and 2-month-old
daughter were forced to sleep in a car before being referred to the
Project Hope Family Shelter in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.

Her homelessness has been a huge struggle, she said. She hopes
the city's plan means change is coming.

``It's a good step,'' Dozier said. ``I fell like someone's there
to help us.''

AP-ES-10-24-99 1643EDT
Received  Id AP99297CFD3C34B on Oct 24 1999 15:43

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