Photo: Everyone should have a home.
With three-quarters of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings to draw on, the specter of homelessness is as close as losing a job, a medical emergency or some other unexpected event.
To raise awareness of the unprecedented growth in the number of homeless families and individuals in Massachusetts, the Tricommunity Coalition to End Homelessness is sponsoring “The Many Faces of Homelessness,” a forum to discuss homelessness in the communities of Belmont, Waltham and Watertown.
The forum will be held on Sunday, April 26, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish Hall, 130 Common St.
Supported by local civic and religious organizations, the event focuses attention on the realities of the homeless populations in our towns. The founding members of the Tricommunity Coalition include New Roads Catholic Community (the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Luke) and the Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness.
Doors will open at 1 pm for refreshments and an opportunity to meet with representatives from more than a dozen organizations that serve the homeless in our communities who will staff exhibits and provide information on their work. This will also offer an opportunity for individuals attending the forum to become involved in programs that assist homeless individuals and families.
Libby Hayes, Executive Director of Homes for Families and advocate for improving housing options, is the keynote speaker. Representatives from local social service, housing and public safety organizations will participate on a panel to discuss their programs’ impact on homeless families, individuals and youth. Panelists include:
- Tori LaPon from Mary House, a family shelter in Waltham;
- Brian Costello, director of the Watertown Housing Authority;
- Sgt. Robert Scarpone, Waltham Area Homeless Assistance Coalition;
- Dick Rogers, Bristol Lodge Men’s and Women’s Shelter;
- Ann Copeman, Homeless Student representative, Waltham Public Schools
- Julie Land, Waltham Day Center.
Individuals who have been homeless will share their experiences.
Local legislators State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Reps. Dave Rogers, John Lawn, and Jonathan Hecht will offer their perspectives on pending legislation and respond to questions from attendees.