Author Archives: Alejandro Ramirez

Editor’s Note: We’ll miss you, Fred Boykin

On Oct. 3, we at Spare Change News learned that longtime vendor Fred Boykin had passed away. While we plan to release a fuller tribute to Fred in the next issue, I wanted to acknowledge Fred, commend his hard work for the paper and make sure our readers — including his customers — heard the

After the smoke has cleared: Following a weekend of displacement, Merrimack Valley families still await gas, reimbursement and a return to normalcy

The line outside the Lawrence Senior Center was dozens of people deep the Saturday after a series of gas leaks and fires displaced thousands of families in the Merrimack Valley. Photo: Alejandro Ramirez. Intro: Thursday night evacuation Around three in the afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 13, a detective at Yahaira Ramos’s home in the southern

The Homeless Empowerment Project is looking for a new board member!

Treasurer (Volunteer) The Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP) is a not-for-profit corporation with an annual budget of $150,000 and five paid staff positions (all part-time). Every other week for the past 25 years, HEP has published Spare Change News, ​a street newspaper addressing issues of homelessness, poverty, and social justice in the Greater Boston area. HEP’s mission is to

Once again, counter-protesters outnumber alt-right rally in Boston

Counter-protesters outnumbered the alt-right on Saturday. All photos by author. Repeating the scene from last summer, over 300 counter-protesters showed up to outnumber members of the so-called “alt-right” — the umbrella term for a collection of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and internet-immersed right-wingers — at a rally held in Boston’s City Hall Plaza on Saturday. The counter-protesters

Boston progresses in goal to end chronic homelessness, despite large inflow over last two years

In a roundtable with the press on August 16, the City of Boston announced that their effort to house the chronically homeless population is seeing results, reducing the population by 20 percent since 2016. Since 2016, the city of Boston has housed 580 chronically homeless individuals — the start of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s “Boston’s

Boston names first black police commissioner, but activists say there’s still a lot of work to do

William Gross made history on July 23 when he became Boston’s first ever black police commissioner. Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Gross’s  appointment, which will begin on August 5. Both Walsh and outgoing commissioner William Evans had glowing words for Gross and his 33 year career at the Boston Police Department. “I don’t think the

Hundreds Rally to Mass. State House to Protest Immigration Policy, State Government’s Inaction

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, June 20, to speak out against the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that detains those trying to cross the border and separates parents from their children. The protesters — joined by groups such as the ACLU and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy

Panel discusses how racial equity can help solve homelessness

The speakers who discussed racial equity as a solution to homelessness, from left to right: Dr. Monica Bharel, Julia Tripp, and Jeff Olivet. On Thursday, June 14, the Center for Social Innovation held a discussion at The Nonprofit Center in downtown Boston about systemic racism and its impact on the homeless population—and how improving racial

Forum evaluates state of affordable housing in Massachusetts

Congresswoman Katherine Clark speaks a the housing forum on May 1. Photo: Boston Metro Housing/Bethany Versoy/V2Visuals Associates. On May 1, housing advocates and city and state officials gathered together for a forum about the condition of state and federal affordable housing programs, and what it means for housing throughout the Commonwealth. The event was hosted

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