Every year on a randomly selected winter day, New Bedford counts its homeless population. In 2022, the city recorded a one-day total of 370 individuals either in shelters or living on the street.
Preliminary data from this year’s census reveal numbers not seen in more than a decade. On Jan. 25, counting just those living on the streets, surveyors found 65 unsheltered homeless battling low temperatures in the mid-20s.
Multimedia reporter Eleonora Bianchi brings some of their stories to light in interviews with both sheltered and unsheltered people. What she found are some of the most vulnerable among us, battling neglect, addiction, abuse, stigma and hopelessness.
What she found in the people and organizations trying to help the homeless are compassion and dedication in the face of daily obstacles.
As Steppingstone Project Coordinator Danielle Brown says, “Everybody has the right to be treated fairly and with decency and have a roof over their head. … Our circumstances do not make us who we are. I believe in letting people know that they’re important no matter what.”
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