Lived Experience of Homelessness

It is amazing how much of life we take for granted each day. For most people, essentials, such as food, shelter, and clothing consistent with the current climate are perpetually present and expected to be always so. But for a growing number of us, here in the Boston area, it has become increasingly difficult to be able to maintain this societal status quo.

The statewide rent control repeal of 1994, which forced many people from their previous places of residence, also made it so that they could not afford to move into the many new houses and apartment buildings that have been constructed in the past 30 years. According to a 2022 report by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, “Less than 1% of the rental listings advertised in 2021 were affordable to households making $50,000 or less, without being rent burdened. 18% of listings were affordable to households making $75,000 or less, but the majority of those, (57%) were studios.”

My purpose in pointing out the reality of realty in this, as well as most major cities, is to help broaden the understanding of who the lived experience of homelessness in America actually encompasses. Despite the stigma often attached to being homeless, it is important to know that there are as many different stories of homelessness as there are people to tell them.

This winter, I will be sharing fictionalized accounts of such stories; some from my own experience, others, from people I have encountered along the way. Musicians, a teacher, a tech, a medical assistant, and a physical therapist, are only a few of those who, due to unexpected circumstances, found themselves without a place to call home. Although some might expect this cast of characters to be comprised primarily of people with substance abuse issues and mental illnesses (aforementioned stigma), the reality is that people from all walks of life can have that life suddenly disrupted and in need of a little kindness. Note: for reasons of privacy and copyright, the names of people and places depicted in these vignettes may be changed.

As always your support is greatly appreciated. Here’s wishing you and yours, a healthy and happy holiday season… ^_^

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