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Councilor Essaibi George Wants to End Family Homelessness

Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is looking to create a special commission to end family homelessness in the city of Boston and requested a hearing regarding this ordinance to create the commission.

“Our city is experiencing a housing and displacement crisis,” she said. “There is an urgent need to help this vulnerable population.”

Mayor Walsh speaks to a homeless man at the Downtown Crossing T station, February 2018.

According to George, there are at least 5,000 students in the Boston Public School system that are facing homelessness. Because of this, these students face a greater risk of dropping out high school and continue the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 

“We as a city cannot wait for the state to act,” said George. “These are our kids. These are our families.”

The commission would include Mayor Walsh, chief of health and human services, chief of housing, Boston Public Schools Superintendent, Massachusetts Governor Baker, members from the State House, members of the shelter system in the city, three representatives who have family homelessness or housing insecurity lived expertise as well as others. 

The commission will exist as long as it takes to develop a comprehensive and actionable plan to end family homelessness, according to the hearing order.

The responsibility of the commission is to develop a plan that would end family homelessness by seeing where there are current gaps in resources, discern the impact of the lack of housing, and conduct a cost analysis on providing the necessary resources to families dealing with homelessness.

They will file a bi-annual report on what they are doing and what plans they have for the city.

According to Essaibi George, Boston has seen the largest increase in the Commonwealth in terms of family homelessness within the last few years. She believes these families need the support of the city in order for them to succeed, especially young children who are still in school.

“Family homelessness is a solvable crisis,” the councilor said.