The real real

By Rosalie Tirella

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Me time … Rose, April 5.

Tap tap tap go the raindrops on my car’s windshield. In car tonight. So want to be in bed in a nice apartment. Or just in an “ok” apartment. A small boy tapped tapped tapped on the door window of the motel I stayed at last night. He woke me up with his tapping and faint calls to be let into the building. It was 2 a.m. My dogs got agitated; I had to take them out to pee. I pulled a pair of long shorts on, tucked in my night shirt, threw on my jacket, leashed up Jett and Lilac and went downstairs. I saw the branch someone had placed in the side entrance door so it wouldn’t lock, so the little boy could enter the building. So he could sneak upstairs and sleep in a warm room in a warm bed. He had a mom and sibling. They sneaked up with him. He was their advance man. A little boy! At 2 a.m. Living this kind of life! I walked over the wet tree branch with my dogs.

WHY CAN’T WORCESTER HOUSING AGENCIES CREATE NEW PROGRAMS SO LITTLE KIDS DON’T HAVE TO GROVEL FOR A PLACE TO SLEEP AT 2 A.M? Why must we be so cruel to our poor?

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Lilac solves the food puzzle.

Let’s FUND THE NEW PROGRAMS WE CREATE WITH COVID MONEY… LET’S HELP PEOPLE BRIDGE SOME OF THE GAPS WHILE BEING HOMELESS. I HAVE A VOUCHER. RENTS IN WORCESTER ARE AROUND $2,000 per month. No one is interested in my piddly lil’ voucher! There are scores of people like me who can’t secure housing in the city because Worcester is no longer blue collar but … something else. Something new. But for only half the populace. The other half (my half) is left out, struggling, often “food insecure” (euphemism for HUNGRY), a paycheck away from homelessness …

Solutions, Worcester! Let’s think OUTSIDE THE BOX, as the times require novel thoughts and bravery and so much more compassion!

Can we create villages of tiny houses with communal kitchens and bath houses for tenants? This is supposed to happen in Worcester, but the paperwork and funding process is tedious and time-frames too expansive.

Old csx railroad cars, any railroad cars … can they be converted into tiny homes? It’s happening in California!

RCAP and CMHA in Worcester… Can they rent efficiencies at these extended stay places in Worcester and Worcester County? Just for a month or two while homeless people and families continue to look for permanent housing. These efficiencies in these big complexes at the edge of towns and cities are little studio apartments in what’s really a mammoth apartment complex. Each efficiency has a living area with sofa and chair … a kitchen with nice stove, refrigerator, microwave, small table and two chairs … a bedroom area with bed, night tables, closet area … My space was more tasteful, cozier, than the apartment I saw last week!

Can we use COVID funds to bridge the rental gap$ at these places, as voucher money$ will not cover the monthly “rent.” Can HUD strike a deal with these huge places, for let’s say 10 percent of their units? For Massachusetts? America?

Bottom line: Worcester needs more housing. All kinds. And not necessarily the kind branded “affordable.” Just having more housing units period would be a godsend … would make things easier for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder because rents would go down in the ghettos as the upper-income renters rent the nice places in our nice neighborhoods – and pay the higher prices. The city’s below-average housing stock would become less attractive, have fewer and fewer takers. Landlords would have to get real and lower their rents to entice people to live in their dumps. Most Worcester slumlords have done nothing to their apartments during our city’s hot real estate boom, but they raised their rents exorbitantly just to keep up with the Canal District. Just because they could. Greedy ba*tards.

Poor little kids. Poor old broads.