BU News Service
Gentrification and soaring rent prices are becoming a large contributor to the issue of homelessness in Jamaica Plain. “Over 50% of the homeless population [in JP] works full-time or more but are unable to afford housing,” according to the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Jamaica Plain averages $1,482 a month, or $2.25 per square foot, according to a BostInno comparison of rent prices in the city.
A BPHC report found that the fastest growing homeless population in JP was youth ages 12-18, a statistic backed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which found that 28.4 percent of youth under the age of 18 in JP (1,803 people) are living below the poverty line.
Referring to rising rent prices in the city, Dr. Eileen Reilly, a psychiatrist with Boston’s Department of Mental Health explained, “what we’ve noticed is that it’s getting harder and harder for people to find a place to live.”
Throughout JP, there are a number of services provided for people experiencing homelessness, including shelters and other housing assistance programs. The Shattuck Shelter offers overnight emergency shelter services for 120 people each night, but primarily cares for adults, not children or families experiencing homelessness. Other support services for the homeless in JP include Friends of Boston’s Homeless, an organization near Jackson Square that works to combat homeless by supporting life skills development and finding permanent housing, and Casa Nueva Vida, an organization near Franklin Park that assists families experiencing homelessness. There are also several shelters for survivors of domestic violence and other services in the area.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained several errors. It was stated that the Shattuck Shelter houses 12 adults per night instead of 120. The article also incorrectly listed the number of shelters in Jamaica Plain.