HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 15 legislators from all four western Massachusetts counties will meet Friday in Holyoke to figure out the next step in lowering rates of homelessness in our region.
Friday’s meeting will review the progress of the Western Mass. Opening Doors Plan which was formed in June 2015. The plan’s focus is to prevent and end homelessness altogether.
Some of the issues expected to be covered in the meeting include how to better prevent homelessness among veterans, families and youth.
A recent report by the Western Mass Network to End Homelessness shows the total number of homeless in the region over the last three years. The totals include families and individuals:
- 2012 and 2013: there were more than 12,000 homeless in western Mass.
- 2014: there were just over 10,000 homeless in western Mass.
Though the report shows the number of homeless decreasing in the area, results showed that the number of homeless families has risen from just over 600 in 2013 to more than 900 in 2015.
The report also discovered how many of the homeless were, “first-time homeless” individuals and families. In 2014, there were 2,200 newly homeless. It broke down to being more than 1,600 newly homeless individuals and 600 newly homeless families.
Speakers at the meeting will include a veteran, a family head of household and a formerly chronically homeless individual. They will all share their experience of moving from homelessness to permanent housing through the region’s systems of support.