As of this writing seven homeless men have frozen to death on the streets of Boston this winter. Saying Some of our homeless folks have succumbed to the elements, Mayor Tom Menino announced a week before this cartoon came out that the city would set aside $80,000 for four outreach workers and an additional van to find homeless people on freezing nights and bring them in off the streets. According to a head count performed by the Mayor's Office in December, the number of homeless families is up 11.6% over last year, largely due to skyrocketing rents in the Boston area. Meanwhile, although the effect is temporarily softened by extensions and bureaucratic delays, the clock has run out on the 24-month limit imposed on approximately 6000 families still receiving what used to be called welfare in Massachusetts. The fact that in two years the welfare caseload has come down to this level from around 100,000 is regarded by local pundits as evidence of welfare reform's success. To gauge the success of welfare reform and the extent of homelessness nationally, click here.
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