The definition of "homelessness" is not as black-and-white as you might think. Ask Worcester attorney Raymond Bilodeau, who is homeless.
In 2006, the Home Again collaborative identified 120 individuals in Worcester who had been homeless for an extended period of time. Home Again asked the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to support a new way to address their homelessness through Home Again.
Armed with Health Foundation funding, Home Again applied the Housing First model, which had been successful in other cities across the country. With the Housing First approach, people who are homeless are helped to secure housing and provided with case management and support services necessary for them to function at their highest capacity and remain housed.
In August 2009, the City Manager’s office issued a news release headlined Worcester Nears Goal of Ending Adult Chronic Homelessness. Steve D'Agostino, on Facebook, congratulated those in the Worcester community who have been working for many years to achieve such a goal. Raymond responded to the post, describing himself as homeless.
Raymond took strong exception to claims that Worcester was about to eradicate adult chronic homelessness. He responded, among other things, that living with relatives, for example, does not mean you’re no longer homeless. On his own Facebook page at the time, he described himself a "semi-retired lawyer, homeless but trying to keep a practice going. Besides helping people with legal problems, I enjoy politics, real science fiction, arguing, people with a sense of humor, and puns.”
In this encore episode of The Business Beat, Steve interviews Raymond about the definition of homelessness and how the local business community can help to end homelessness in Greater Worcester.