16 on the street in Worcester this week

posted by Mike on January 21st, 2006

After stopping by a couple abandoned campsites, and conferring with others who have lots of contact with the homeless, I think there are 16 people sleeping in cars, unheated buildings, and outside in Worcester this week.

Some of these folks work, some get government aid, and some have no steady income.

This is roughly one out of every 10,000 residents. There was no overlap in our lists, so the actual number is possibly much higher.

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6 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On January 22, 2006 at 17:17 Adam (Southern California) said:

    How does that compare with the total homeless population of the town? For my work I looked through a document Riverside County, CA prepared in 2005 called the Riverside County Homeless Census. This was an attempt to scour the county and count the homeless population on one particular day (January 26, 2005). The total number amounted to about 3 homeless per 1000 total population. If you look at the city-by-city results, though, the results varied widely. Hemet and Perris were up around 7 or 8 per 1000, whereas Moreno Valley had less than 1 per 1000. While part of this may have been due to varying levels of competence among the census-takers, I think it was interesting to see how the homeless population differs from town to town.

    You can read more about it here:

    Or read a ful pdf report here:

  2. On January 23, 2006 at 00:42 Mike (Worcester) said:

    Adam–There are at least a few hundred people living in emergency shelters. I don’t know if the number tops 1,000.

    I was talking to a friend today and mentioned my “16” number, and she thought she had a bunch of people not on my list. It seems like a real challenge to count the people living in their cars.

    A couple months ago I ran into this kid I know in a local coffee shop and he said his housing plan had fallen through, and he was staying on someone’s couch for a week before getting into some program. A lot of people would call this kid homeless, though I don’t know if he’d qualify according to the HUD requirements. (It was interesting that this kid was the best-groomed person in a coffee shop full of trendy people.)

    I don’t see a “homeless census” for Worcester County on-line.

  3. On January 23, 2006 at 03:24 Adam (Southern California) said:

    Yeah, I dunno how you can draw a sharp line between homeless and not homeless. Certainly most people fall onto one side of the line or another, but there are a lot in the middle.

  4. On January 23, 2006 at 05:29 Dr Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    On Saturday 29th January 2005, the city-centre ecumenical Faith in Action group had a morning conference called Under Our Roof, where some of these ‘quantitative’ issues were discussed (Why is there the perception that there are more people who are homeless or sleeping rough in Oxford than in other comparable cities?), amongst other topics. There were representatives from the city council, the night shelter, the police, and many non-governmental organizations in the discussion. Sadly, I did not take any notes that day, and have not obtained permission to reproduce reports from others.

    Development since then included the appointment of a (part-time, ecumenical) chaplain for the homeless, Sister Ann Proudly. The minutes of the last Faith in Action group meeting announced that there will be a service for and by homeless people at St Giles’ Church at 18:00 on Sunday 29th January 2006.

  5. On January 27, 2006 at 23:47 Mike (Worcester) said:

    Since writing this post, I’ve discussed it with a couple more knowledgeable people, all of whom think 16 is too low an estimate. To correlate everyone’s lists, I’d have to get them all in a room together, since they don’t necessarily know the real names of the homeless folks they deal with.

  6. On January 29, 2006 at 14:58 Dr Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    Sister Ann Proudly, the chaplain, preached at today’s Homelessness Sunday service.

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