WORCESTER — The city has drawn admirers from Boston to Washington for its efforts to combat homelessness.
Worcester has practically eliminated chronic homelessness in the past three years and is poised to close its homeless shelter Jan. 31, officials say.
Officials say the decades-old People in Peril Shelter at 701 Main St., the target of neighborhood ire for decades, will close, but homeless people will be better served.
In November 2007, Community Healthlink and South Middlesex Opportunity Council, two nonprofit agencies that serve homeless people, counted 197 people who were chronically homeless, according to David E. McCloskey, director of PIP, which is now pointedly renamed the Greater Worcester Housing Connection. Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition, those 197 people are people who have been homeless for at least a year or four times in three years.
“Today there are only two chronically homeless people who are not housed,” Deborah J. Ekstrom,Community Healthlink president and CEO, said last week. “We believe this is a first in the country.”