[Hpn] Deal reached on 'wet' shelter: SMOC ... will open facility 1 hour earlier ...

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Tue, 20 Nov 2001 03:56:57 -0500


As a final follow-up from me regarding this particular matter, below is a 
forward of an article published today (Tuesday, November 20, 2001) in the 
MetroWest Daily News concerning the South Middlesex Opportunity Council 
<http://www.smoc.org> wet shelter in Framingham 
<http://www.framinghamma.org> Massachusetts which may be of interest.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

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-------Forwarded article-------

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
MetroWest Daily News <http://www.metrowestdailynews.com>
[Massachusetts]
Local News section
Deal reached on 'wet' shelter: SMOC says it will open facility one hour 
earlier to reduce number of homeless loiterers
<http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/local_regional/frashelter11202001.htm>

By Heather Anderson
Tuesday, November 20, 2001


FRAMINGHAM - After months of wrangling, neighbors of the controversial "wet" 
shelter on the corner of Columbia and Irving streets struck a deal with 
shelter overseers Friday in a private meeting brokered by two selectmen.

Jim Cuddy, executive director of South Middlesex Opportunity Council, which 
runs the shelter, has agreed to open shelter doors at 7 p.m. - one hour 
earlier than now.

The shelter is called a "wet" shelter because it allows people under the 
influence of alcohol or drugs to use it.

The earlier opening is an attempt to reduce the number of homeless people 
loitering on Columbia Street after eating supper at the nearby Salvation 
Army.

"For the most part, it was a cordial and frank exchange of ideas," Cuddy 
said about Friday's meeting.

At least one neighbor said SMOC, a nonprofit agency with many social 
services in town, has made and broken promises about the shelter before, and 
he will wait and see if this time is any different.

Cuddy also agreed to furnish a time line by Dec. 7, showing when the shelter 
will be converted into a 23-person group home for sober residents. He must 
also provide plans for the wet shelter's relocation.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Cuddy said SMOC is trying to move the 
shelter before the spring.

While he would not say what properties are being considered, Cuddy insists 
the shelter must remain downtown.

"It's not feasible at MCI-Framingham," said Cuddy about a suggestion to move 
the shelter into a building at the women's prison. "There's no facility 
there that would lend itself to a shelter. We have looked into it."

Most homeless people who come to the shelter are walking, he said, and SMOC 
services are downtown. "We believe that any shelter facility needs to be in 
the downtown area," he said.

The shelter was supposed to be relocated earlier this fall. But plans 
stalled when federal funding fell through.

"Now I think all the pieces are in place," Cuddy said.

Meanwhile, Charles Edwards - owner of 73-81 Irving St., a 56-unit apartment 
building occupied mostly by elderly residents - described Friday's meeting 
as well-intentioned, but he fears it amounted to little more than lip 
service.

"We don't believe anything they say," said Edwards, accompanied Friday by 
his property manager, Joe Gilbert.

"If they do promise to leave by spring - and to monitor what they're doing 
until that time - I'd be very happy," he said. But "I want to see something 
in writing. We've already been this route on numerous occasions. The people 
from SMOC don't want to accept the magnitude of the problem."

Selectman Ginger Esty, a vocal opponent of shelters that take in alcohol 
abusers and drug users, called the meeting "constructive."

Both she and Selectmen Chairman John Kahn attended, as did Police Chief 
Steve Carl and four neighboring property owners or managers.

Selectmen are calling on the owners of two nearby liquor stores to help 
resolve the problem, said Kahn. They are being asked to stop selling booze 
to "known, aggressive alcoholics."

Yesterday, Dom Garbarino, owner of Garbarino's Package Store on Waverley 
Street, said it's already a store rule not to sell to intoxicated customers.

"We try to do our best," Garbarino said. "But they're going to get it 
anyway. They'll send someone else in."

Besides, he said, package stores are not the source of Framingham's 
population of homeless alcoholics.

"When you have a shelter near a train station, you (attract) people from all 
over ... Boston, Springfield," Garbarino said.

"You're going to have a problem when you have these things."

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**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA



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