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Taking Shelter: Inside the Motels America's Homeless Families Call Home

Belinda Soncini | MA, United States

Katrina watchful over her sleeping daughter.

The economic recession of the last decade caused thousands of Massachusetts families to become homeless. Once the shelters became full, the state turned to motels to shelter them, often far from family, friends and their children’s schools.

Most families end up homeless due to unforeseen events such as the death of loved ones, job loss or domestic violence. On average, homeless families spend seven months in motels. Once housed, the majority will never experience homelessness again. But a small number will return to homelessness. Still, most hold on to hope that this time will be the last…

This ongoing project brings a rarely seen glimpse of families surviving in motels and opens a window into understanding how they are able to make a life while waiting for a home. This intimate portrait captures the love, laughter, tears and strength of these parents and children, and celebrates the strength and resiliency of the human spirit when confronted with adversity.

After graduating in psychology, the arts and photography, Belinda Soncini has dedicated her work to telling stories about the human experience.  She has contributed to several non-profits such as EASE and the Boston Medical Center in Boston, the Syrian American Medical Society in Washington, and the Oak Foundation in London.



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