SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Homelessness is on the rise in Massachusetts, so Congressman Jim McGovern slept at a Worcester shelter to increase both awareness and support for homeless.
“It’s one of the richest states, it has one of the highest cost of living,” said Bill Miller, the Executive Director of Friends of the Homeless. “Unfortunately people on the low end of the economic scale, people in service sector jobs or people without jobs, run very high risk of homelessness.”
Miller told 22News that Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of homelessness compared to other states. He said people become homeless for reasons, often beyond their control.
One homeless man, Robert Larrivee, said he’s unsure how he ended up in his situation. “One day you wake up without a place to stay and you wonder what you’re going to do? And for me it was just a blessing, that this corporation was able to help me.”
Miller said with a high cost of living, when people lose their jobs, they can’t make ends meet. He’s shocked by the rising number of young people he sees coming to the shelter. “We got people 18 to 24 years old. More than 150 people in the age group last year. That’s troubling.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development says more than 600,000 Americans are homeless on any given night. In 2015, more than 200,000 families were homeless in Massachusetts.