August 20, 2019
 
Winter Walk Raises Funds to Prevent and End Homelessness

February 11, 2019 — Boston Medical Center and Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan yesterday hosted the third annual Winter Walk, an effort to raise awareness to prevent and end homelessness and funds for organizations in Greater Boston working to prevent, support, and care for those who are homeless.

The two-mile walk through Boston streets, starting at Copley Square, the third year the event has been held, sought to double last year's participation and fundraising results.

Last year, the event raised $140,000 and, Ari Barbanell, executive director of Winter Walk, said he hoped to raise $150,000 this year, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

More than 1,000 people participated in yesterday's walk, the paper reported.

The Winter Walk was sponsored under the umbrella of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, a Boston nonprofit that has been providing health care for homeless individuals and families in Greater Boston since 1985.

Funds raised will support Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Brookview House, Pine Street Inn, and Y2Y Harvard Square.

“We wanted to raise awareness around the issues of homelessness, and we thought that in the coldest month of the year, walking outside would be a way to spend just a few moments in the shoes of people experiencing homelessness,” Barbanell was quoted in The Globe.

The walk proceeded down Boylston Street, around The Public Garden, through Boston Common, and back to Copley via Beacon Street, Arlington Street, and St. James Avenue.

Adults participating in in the walk paid a $100 registration fee; students paid $50. Participants were not required to raise additional funds, but were encouraged to do so.

“We wanted to raise awareness around the issues of homelessness, and we thought that in the coldest month of the year, walking outside would be a way to spend just a few moments in the shoes of people experiencing homelessness,” said Barbanell.

Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, also quoted in The Globe, said, "This day serves as a reminder that every day we can and must do more to support some of our most vulnerable populations in the city of Boston and beyond.”

The number of homeless people in Massachusetts rose 14%—to 20,068—from 2017 to 2018, the highest since 2013, compared to a 0.3% rise nationally, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 without children experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts rose by 11%, the most since 2015.

The number of individuals experiencing homelessness has more than doubled since 1990, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, which cited the lack of sufficient affordable housing as a main driver behind the rise in homelessness.

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