With the temperature in Boston consistently cold, debates about the homeless become increasingly heated. No one can help feeling sympathy for the men and women sitting on vents outside, wearing layer upon layer of clothing, trying to keep warm. The answer to the problem is obviously not simple. While some unfortunate people resort to living outside because they simply cannot afford expensive Boston housing, many outdoor dwellers do so because they are mentally ill. With continued cuts in care for the mentally ill (due to the state budget crisis), more and more of the state's mentally ill will begin living on the street. Lay-offs of those who care for the mentally ill, and hospitals booked beyond capacity will not help the homeless. Until the mentally ill are cared for, however, the homeless problem will not be resolved. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.