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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Homeless Among Us

There are approximately 6000 homeless people living in the city of Boston. The high rate of unemployment and general decay of the economy is leaving more and more people without options and without homes. The problem is growing and even affecting people higher up on the economic ladder. Individuals and families who normally would be thought of as “working class” have lost their jobs or find that their minimum or low wage checks are not enough to make ends meet.

 These disadvantaged people are everywhere. You may see them everyday, passing them by on the street, and simply not notice. People ride the shuttle back and forth from the JFK library for warmth and visit seminars and events on campuses to discretely grab free food. They may even be enrolled in classes, desperate to better their situation, but unable to balance the cost of higher education and the cost of living.

 The increasing need for specialized aid has prompted the ARMS center (Advocacy Resource for Modern Survival) to meet with administrative bodies to discuss the most effective way of helping homeless individuals.

 The problem of how to help is complex for a myriad of both budgetary and bureaucratic reasons. One of the biggest obstacles may be reaching out to individuals who have been stigmatized, feel embarrassed by their situation, and who may fear losing, despite its hardships, what has become their way of life.

Debbie Ann Ferretti, coordinator of the ARMS center, stressed the importance of dignity and stability in an interview. ” People in that situation need consistency, a place they can rely on and go to without feeling judged or like they are on display.”

 One system that Ferretti hopes may be viable on the UMass campus is the University of California, Los Angeles’ open food pantry known as The Closet. As a successful charity run by students for students that provides groceries and other essentials to the disadvantaged, a system like this would protect the anonymity of its dependants while providing them with the necessities of living.

 A solution like this would be ideal for UMass because it is doubly useful. Not only does it provide a much needed service, but it also gives students a unique learning experience that may be applicable to majors looking to go into social work after they graduate.

 Mrs. Ferretti also has an idea for temporary housing for students who are in between homes because they are waiting for their financial aid to kick in.

 Students are encouraged to formulate their own plans and present them to the ARMS center. This situation demands attention from every facet of the community. People need to speak up and speak loudly for those unwilling to speak for themselves.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011