, Salem, MA

December 18, 2013

Letter: Ending 'runs for the homeless'

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

In 1989, I started a business transporting special-needs children. In August of that year, I received numerous bids from various cities throughout the North Shore. The bidding process requires vendors to submit quotes based on per-day amount.

I was awarded two runs for being low bidder. It was shortly after school started that I was informed by transportation departments that additional bids would be sent under the heading “homeless runs.” The city of Peabody awarded me a run involving a pickup of children at Carriage House Motel on Route 1, taking them to their school in Lawrence, their previous location.

Upon arriving at their room, four elementary-school-age children came out with their mother. During that ride to Lawrence, I tried to reason how five individuals could live in such a small environment. This run lasted throughout the school year. Now, 13 years later, this demoralizing crisis continues. This year throughout the state, there are 2,100 families residing under the same conditions.

I fully understand the magnitude of this problem and the work Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration are doing. However, the costs to taxpayers have escalated. In 2008, the annual motel and hotel costs were $1 million; in 2013, that figure rose to $45 million. I am not aware if the cost of transportation is factored in this amount.

It is my opinion that the thousands of inhabited structures throughout this state can be renovated, creating new jobs. By applying this $45 million that now provides temporary, deplorable living conditions for these thousands of parents and their children, this money would create more permanent housing and enhance their quality of life. I would hope someday there is no longer a “run for the homeless” required.

Nicholas Daley