Come September, Massachusetts will let people receiving food assistance use their benefits at restaurants for the first time.
What’s happening: Fourteen Boston-area restaurants were selected by the state to participate in a pilot program with the federal government, called the Restaurant Meals Program. There were 27 total restaurants selected statewide.
How should we understand the increasing demonization and criminalization of homelessness across America? Is shelter alone enough for meeting the call of this moment, or merely an essential starting place? What can leaders in this field teach us about invoking empathy and critical analysis in responding to this complex set of issues?
“Ford’s interactive display allows library visitors, many of them homeless, to express themselves anonymously. Panels hanging from the ceiling ask visitors ‘What do you need? What can you give?’ Paper, pens, and a drop box allow visitors to answer. Ford periodically empties the box and pins the responses on the five panels in the display.
She’s been surprised by what people have said. The vast majority didn’t ask for money or housing or food — they asked for empathy.”
“An employee at the main branch of the Worcester Public Library, speaking for herself and not the library, said the main branch serves as the city’s defacto day shelter for homeless people, but employees there often find themselves unequipped to help the homeless patrons. The employee, Elizabeth McKinstry, said the task force should look at staffing social workers at the library to help the homeless people who shelter there.
‘We really need someone onsite to help us do what we want to do as librarians, which is help people,’ said McKinstry.
She also added she was disappointed no one from the library was included on the task force.”
“During a 100-day challenge that ended Nov. 8, a coalition of 30 public, private and nonprofit groups set the ambitious goal of moving 150 young people from homelessness to more stable situations. But they exceeded their benchmark by finding housing and/or employment for 236 local teens and young adults.”
“It’s like if you don’t go into an area that’s poor, you don’t understand or appreciate the area that’s poor,” City Councilman John Garland, a native Roanoker, said during the kickoff meeting at the Jackson Park Library in Southeast Roanoke.