Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Homeless on Beason Hill Continue to Struggle
Beacon Hill is known for its wealth and prestige as one of Boston's more glamorous neighborhoods. But it is here that a huge population of homeless reside as well. Many frequent the nearby Boston Common, sleeping on benches and eating at churches and shelters in the area. George Caponigro, a graduate of the University of Virginia, and previous restaurant owner, husband and father lived in the Common for three years. It has been 15 years since he's been on the streets, but he says he'll never forget it. Last year's census in Boston showed a 4 percent rise in the number of homeless and the average age of the homeless is 8 years old. Family homelessness is one aspect rarely talked about, even though it is currently growing faster than any other homeless population. Boston's family homelessness increased by 17 percent from last year. St. Francis House, ticketed as the largest multi-service day shelter in New England, serves over 800 homeless per day. The homeless there embody all types of people, including some who are so well put together that one would hardly guess they were struggling. Boston also has the largest health care center for the homeless in the country.