Later in the first day of Chicago, we learned about homelessness and its connection in Chicago. However, for Boston, we have similar statistics. In Dec. 2014, there was a study released that stated Boston had the highest amount of people living in emer-gency shelters out of 25 major cities nationwide, including Washington D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles. Also according to the 2015 census, Boston’s homeless population has grown by 5.6% (since 2013). This includes 2,440 children, 3,383 adults and family homelessness, also a unique challenge increased by a staggering 25% in the last year (1,543 families!). This could be due to rising renting cost, as well as scarce rental assistance for low-income families.
 
These again, are some pretty eye opening numbers. We also took part in an interactive online experience called SPENT (www.playspent.org). I HIGHLY recommend this “game” for a deeper understanding of what it means to struggle with poverty and homelessness. Everyone in our group found all the different situations challenging, and each situation brings forth a new moral or financial issue that one must make a decision on. Personally, it made me very thankful for my parents, because these are the decisions that they have to make morally and financially every day. Try it out! Let me know what you think 🙂
 
We visited a Crossroads homeless shelter in the evening, a men’s adult homeless shelter. There were many highlights for each trip for me personally, but the visit to this homeless shelter was near the top. We were all nervous headed into the experience, until we met Vince. When you envision a homeless shelter, this was
nothing close to that. We were waiting for the head of the home-less shelter on the Church steps facing the north side of Chicago, one of the wealthiest areas of the city. As we waited, a man came
up to us with his bike, who screamed, “Hey! My name is Vince and I run this shelter, how much do you think this bike costs?!” The group, startled, had no idea so I responded, about $600?! Vince gave a short laugh, and told us that his bike costs over $5,000 dollars and he stores it in this shelter. That’s what he prides his shelter to be: a safe environment of men who respect one another. After our conversation, we had time to walk into the
shelter and talk freely with some of the men for about an hour. Although awkward for some, I immediately struck up a conversation with Steven. First thing, he brought up the Knights of Columbus, and immediately, Steven and I had a brotherhood bond! The rest of the conversation with Steve, and another friend Dan, made my week. How do you view the homeless? Will you go out of your comfort zone and try the interactive game, SPENT?! (playspent.org)?!