One public health crisis in Massachusetts that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon is the struggle for affordable housing. With inflation continuing to rise whether it's food, fuel, rent, mortgages you name it, more and more people in Massachusetts are struggling to keep roofs over their heads. It's getting scary. Let's take the Berkshires for example.

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In a recent radio interview that I conducted with Jane Ralph and Jane Glaser from Construct (Construct provides affordable housing and supportive services to residents in fifteen towns across the southern Berkshires) it was revealed just how apparent the homeless issue is in our area. Here's what Jane Ralph (Executive Director of Construct) had to say:

In 2021 there were 47 homeless families counted in the point-in-time survey that we count every January. This year there were 79...and I'm guessing that number is low because folks don't always want to be counted, they don't always want folks to know that their homeless and this includes families, kids and individuals, the need is great.

As you can see from Jane's quote that number is quite a significant jump in just one year and that just represents a small section of Massachusetts.

Berkshire County Experiences a Fair Share of Hidden Homelessness

Jane Ralph also discussed that some of the homelessness that occurs in Berkshire County is hidden homelessness. People stay with other folks for a while and then move on to another group of friends a.k.a. "couch surfing." Other folks (as long as the weather isn't too cold) will camp in tents for a while but that can only last so long, especially with the frigid winters that we typically experience in Western Massachusetts.

The Local Berkshire Community (and Beyond) Has the Opportunity to Help Local Folks Who are Facing Tough Times.

In an effort to help those who are in need, WSBS Radio has teamed up with Construct and we will be hosting a radiothon from 7 am - 10 am on Thursday, March 9 at our Great Barrington studios, located at 425 Stockbridge Road. Members from Construct will be on the air with us and we will have operators standing by to take your pledges. You'll be able to make a donation that day by calling WSBS at (413) 528-0860. This radiothon is part of Construct's fundraising efforts as the organization continues its vision which is to change & save lives through housing options and a continuum of support services. Your donation will be making a positive impact on local residents who are facing trying times. You'll be able to listen to the radiothon on 860AM/94.1FM as well as here and on the free WSBS app. You can make a donation to Construct any time of the year by going here.

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