Hundreds walk to end homelessness in Boston

BOSTON (WHDH) - Hundreds of people bundled up to walk through the streets of Boston Sunday morning with a mission to end homelessness.

The annual event, held during the coldest month of the year, gives the homeless population a platform to share their stories and the community a chance to learn how they can help.

“We thought taking a walk during the coldest month of the year was a way just to spend a few moments in the shoes of someone experiencing homelessness,” Ari Barbanell, executive director of Winter Walk, said.

The two-mile walk kicked off at Copley Square.

Mayor Marty Walsh said it’s important to treat everyone with dignity and respect, especially during the brutally cold winter months.

“No one woke up in the morning when they were a young child and said, ‘I think I want to be homeless,'” Walsh said. “That’s not what their goal was.”

The mayor said he’s made it his mission to support people in need across the city.

“There’s been more awareness, we’ve done a lot of work on getting people into homes,” Walsh said. “In Boston, we’ve housed over 1,600 chronically homeless people, we’ve ended 4,000 years of homelessness, we just have to keep going and keep getting more and more people into homes.”

Walsh said major cities must take action and do their part to get more homeless people into permanent homes, a movement that can spread across the world.

“What we want to do is make sure that we tell the rest of the world that we are gonna help and continue to work with people that are homeless to get them back on their feet, to get them back into a home, to get them back into safe spaces,” Walsh said.

Event coordinators said they plan to continue helping people in need all year long.

“We’re walking every  year until this problem ends and it’s gonna take a while but we really think we can make a difference, we think ending homelessness is within our reach.”

(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)