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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
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.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.