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Chronic homelessness rises sharply in western Massachusetts

Three people stand in front of a tent village in the woods
Josh Landes
/
WAMC
Three occupants of a tent village in Pittsfield's Springside Park in 2021.

The increase is one of the continuing effects of the pandemic

Overall homelessness in the four counties of western Massachusetts remained at about the same level as last year according to the point-in-time census taken last February.

But the latest data shared at a recent gathering of activists, lawmakers, government officials, and housing specialists, revealed a near doubling of the number of chronically homeless people.

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Pamela Schwartz, Director of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.