Massachusetts is at a critical juncture in its care for homeless individuals. In the face of a charged political climate and with a governor bent on the "downsizing" and "privatization" of government services, decisions are being made that are of major importance to the welfare of homeless individuals in this state. Based on the choices of the state administration, Massachusetts can either solve its homelessness problem in the near future or relegate its homeless population to a lifetime spent on the streets or in shelters. In comparison to other states, Massachusetts has been relatively successful in caring for homeless people. The foundation for this success rests with a broad-based coalition of people from all walks of life united by a genuine desire to help people in obvious need. This coalition serves as a constituency for homeless people, a large and generous source of voluntarism and financial support, and as a political force of its own. Ring provides a brief history of homelessness in the Boston area as well as his own prescription for solving the problem.



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