BOSTON (CBS) – When Glenn Murphy’s cousin Jermaine Good was gunned down on a Mattapan street in June, the emotional toll was one thing. But the financial toll to bury him was another the family couldn’t afford.
“For them to have to worry about anything else other than face the fact my cousin was murdered was a lot,” said Murphy, who took charge of trying to make funeral and burial arrangements. “It’s just here you go trying to figure out a way to put this man to rest and everything else that goes with it.”
Funerals can cost nearly $11,000 and obtaining up front funds so quickly is where the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute has been trying to fill in the gaps.
It involves constantly fundraising or tapping donors on the spot.
In some cases funeral homes and cemeteries have been willing to defer payments until the money can be raised.
“We try to tap into our resources whatever that looks like to make it happen for them,” said Danielle Bennett, survivors outreach services advocate at the institute. “It’s challenging because when it’s not there for them we have to be creative.”
A victim’s compensation fund is available through the state at the Attorney General’s office, which is usually enough to cover funeral expenses, but it can take months to access.
Since they are victims of crime on Boston’s streets, the Peace Institute is looking to the city for a more permanent revenue stream to help the families left behind.
Mayor Marty Walsh says he supports the idea if the logistics can be worked out.
“If we could come up with ways of having resources for families who lost loved ones it would be important. We have to put parameters around it because we can’t do it for everybody,” said Walsh.
The Peace Institute was able to help Jermaine Good’s family lay him to rest, which Murphy said was like an enormous weight lifted.
“They told me no one has ever come here and not been able to bury their family members,” Murphy said.