My Mistake

A couple of columns ago, I made a mistake. It was hardly as big a deal as people want to make it, but it was a mistake. I wrote that homelessness in Boston had increased by 32% according to the latest city-administered census.

I was off big time according to the numbers. It was actually a lot less, even though the city took its time releasing the numbers, so I was wrong for that. I apologize to the readers of this newspaper.

But here’s the facts. People are still living on the streets and dying on the streets. Maybe if that wasn’t happening, there wouldn’t be any numbers for me to get wrong. As I’ve said a million times, the city census in my opinion is inaccurate, and I’ll stand by that, no matter how many times people say I’m wrong.

Instead of the city conducting the census, let an independent agency or even a media organization conduct it. Maybe then, we’ll get a true count. Volunteers would be allowed to go into alleys and subway stations, onto rooftops and into other places where the homeless rest. I wonder how many people sleep in the bushes and alleyways of methadone mile?

I wonder if we can get a true count of how many folks are sleeping on someone’s floor and couch? What about abandoned buildings? Railroad tracks? Graveyards etc.? How about an accurate count of people who have died on the street since Long Island Shelter was shut down two years ago? Or would they try to say that was a mistake and no one has actually died since the shutdown?

Heck, they might even try to tell us that the shelter is no longer operational when we know it is. Or that GE isn’t really going to get free room and board. Every time a truth is uncovered, it’s called a mistake or a misquote. Oh, and I guess we don’t need safe injection sites because no one’s really shooting heroin in unsafe places and dying. Guess I got that wrong too.

Am I bitter? No. I’m simply stating a fact that while I made a simple mistake with little harm done, there are politicians and their cronies who are making far greater mistakes. I don’t see them apologizing for anything that they’ve done in the past two years. All we hear from them is nothing, really. So you guys keep serving injustice, and I’ll be right here making mistakes.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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