Over 4,000 individuals got here out Sunday morning to stroll collectively in assist of ending homelessness in Boston on the metropolis’s eighth annual Winter Walk.
“It was amazing to see, it had to be thousands people in procession rounding the Common and to realize there are that many people in this one moment standing in solidarity and in support of people experiencing homelessness,” mentioned Karen LaFrazia, president and CEO of St. Francis House.
Teams from 13 native organizations that assist the Boston-area homeless inhabitants and neighborhood members gathered within the Boston Common from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for the occasion, marching to lift consciousness and funds.
Event organizer Paulina Kusiak Daigle mentioned nicely over 4,000 individuals confirmed up, an enormous leap from final yr.
As of Sunday evening, Daigle mentioned, the group had raised over $400,000, working in the direction of a objective of $500,000. Donations will shut across the finish of February, she mentioned. Funds will go on to organizations serving individuals within the space.
The annual stroll comes as demand for homeless companies has seen a pointy improve, St. Francis House mentioned in a launch, noting the migrant inflow.
Over the 2023 yr, there was a 46% improve in new registrations for companies at St. Francis House, a 61% improve in people served, and a 75% improve in people receiving meals.
In the approaching months, LaFranzia mentioned, the group is taking a look at a number of huge initiatives. These embody constructing housing, increasing the job coaching program, and renovating the primary constructing to serve individuals “more efficiently and with more dignity than we’re currently able to do.”
“The most beautiful thing about Winter Walk is walking shoulder to shoulder,” Daigle mentioned. “Today there was no distinction between the housed and unhoused communities.”
Everyone from children, to youngsters, to older of us, to individuals strolling their canines, to shelter workers turned out, mentioned LaFrazia.
LaFranzia mentioned she acknowledged three individuals who’d come to St. Francis House simply within the crowd.
“I wonder how many more were in the throngs,” LaFranzia mentioned. “You couldn’t tell who was homeless, who is homeless, who once was homeless. And I think it just really speaks to once we invest in people, and people can get out of the circumstance that they’re in, homelessness is just an experience. It’s not your identity and and people just move on and just become neighbors.”