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Construct Inc.

Construct Inc.: Celebrating 50 years of helping the homeless

Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 | By Hannah Van Sickle

Great Barrington — “I was taking care of my mom — and I had taken care of her for 10 years — when we got evicted,” is how Rita’s story starts (read Rita’s story that she wrote for The Edge by clicking HERE.). “My daughter was six months old, and I didn’t have a job” is where Carissa began. “Twenty-three years I’ve been on disability,” said Mark. “It’s been a rough, rough road.” And Tyler remembered, “I was working at McDonald’s when we applied for [housing through Construct].” For myriad Berkshire County residents, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, every day can feel like “a heartbeat away from being homeless . . . and most people don’t realize it” added Rita. Last month, as Construct Inc. kicked off its 50th anniversary year with Mayfest, an issue plaguing the county snapped sharply into focus: homelessness, no matter how invisible, affects hundreds of individuals in Berkshire County, and affordable housing continues to be scarce.

In a November 2018 report released by the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness, data from across the region made clear this pervasive problem: The number of homeless people counted at one point in time across the four western counties in January 2018 was a whopping 2,899 (including those in programs); of that number, 2,190 were members of families, plus 709 individuals; the one-day count of homeless people in Berkshire County alone was 181.

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