THANK YOU for shining a spotlight on the crisis of family homelessness in Massachusetts (“Mass. scrambling to house its homeless,” Page A1, Dec. 2). Contrary to the article’s implications, Massachusetts applies extremely strict eligibility requirements for families seeking shelter. Since 2012, when even stricter eligibility restrictions were imposed, my office has represented hundreds of homeless families who were denied shelter, many of whom were forced to sleep in cars, train stations, or hospital emergency rooms with their children.
As the story highlights, the answer to this crisis is greater investment in housing that is affordable to the lowest-income families in the Commonwealth. This year, the Legislature provided modest new funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. We call upon the governor to request and the Legislature to provide a much bigger investment in these vouchers in 2014. Vouchers cost only one-third as much as shelter.