By William J. Dowd
Two distinct forms of homelessness exist in Salem: Transient homeless persons and chronically homeless persons.
The latter is a smaller group – while the former is larger and growing in Salem.
“The statistics are staggering,” said Police Capt. Conrad Prosniewski. “We have a homeless problem in Salem, and the number of calls is going up.”
From January to July 2016, Salem Police averaged 51 homelessness-related calls per month. Over the same seven months in 2017, they averaged 124 calls per month, a 143 percent increase.
Proniewski offered up those statistics before a standing-room-only crowd in an upper room of Derby Street’s St. Joseph’s Hall Thursday evening, July 27. The gathering, organized and facilitated by Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, engaged attendees in what Salem can do to collectively tackle a growing homelessness issue.
Officials also debuted “Collaborative For Hope,” a city-led coalition comprised of Salem social-service agencies from Lifebridge Salem and North Shore Career Center to North Shore Community Action Program and North Shore Community Health Center,– that aims to help empower the homeless population here to end their homelessness.