[Hpn] Critical meeting for homeless shelter: ... complaints ...;Framingham, MA

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Wed, 17 Oct 2001 11:30:40 -0400


Below is a forward of an article which may be of interest concerning a 
homeless shelter in Framingham <http://www.framinghamma.org>, Massachusetts 
<http://www.state.ma.us> which is facing complaints from neighbors in a 
meeting before the Board of Selectmen.

Following the forwarded article, are Web addresses for those seeking 
additional information. Also included is contact information for two of the 
parties involved in this conflict: i.e., the homeless shelter provider and, 
the town manager as well as for the members of the Board of Selectmen -- who 
would be the officials to contact for the town of Framingham, for those so 
inclined. In addition, following all that is a forward of the Board of 
Selectmen meeting agenda for Thursday, October 18, 2001.

On a more personal note: Twenty years ago, I lived and worked in Framingham, 
just off routes 9 & 30 if I recall correctly. Both prior to that, as well as 
later, I lived and worked in the general area. In fact, when living in a 
small city about 15 miles away, I use to attend a chess club and also 
volunteered on the Samaritan hotline based in Framingham. Over forty years 
ago, when I was just a small lad, my father lived and worked in Framingham 
for a time as well. It is a big town spread over a very large area. Lots of 
old memories; I suppose, by admission, that just means I'm getting old(er) 
of course.

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

--------------------------------------------------------

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/globe>
[Massachusetts]
Globe West section
Critical meeting for homeless shelter
<http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/290/west/Critical_meeting_for_homeless_shelter+.shtml>

Selectman will hear complaints from neighbors

By Thanassis Cambanis, Globe Staff Correspondent, 10/17/2001

FRAMINGHAM - For a year now, according to Joe Gilbert, the elderly and 
handicapped residents of his apartment building have lived in fear of the 
often intoxicated homeless people who gather at the shelter on the other 
side of Irving Street.

''The elderly can't go out because they're always being bothered,'' said 
Gilbert, who manages a residence for handicapped and elderly people.

The homeless shelter residents, he said, sometimes drink, smoke, panhandle, 
and even follow people into the apartment building across the street when 
it's cold outside and the shelter is at capacity.

''Our ultimate goal is to see the shelter gone,'' he said.

Tomorrow night, officials from the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, a 
regional social services agency based in Framingham that operates the 
homeless shelter at the corner of Irving and Columbia streets, will appear 
before the Board of Selectmen to answer questions about the facility's 
operations.

With at least one member of the board, Selectwoman Ginger Esty, as an ally, 
Gilbert and other neighbors have asked Framingham to somehow rein in the 
Southside shelter, one of few area facilities that admits homeless men even 
if they are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

''Maybe we can require them to have a police person on duty at all times,'' 
Esty said. ''The building is a wreck. It's horrible. They should not be 
running a filthy thing with hypodermic needles and bottles out there.''

Jim Cuddy, executive director of the South Middlesex Opportunity Council, 
said the agency had tentative plans to move the homeless shelter to another 
building, but was waiting for funding to renovate the structure on Columbia 
Street.

The shelter ''saves lives,'' Cuddy said. ''We want a good relationship with 
the town.''

The ''wet'' shelter for single men - that is, for the intoxicated homeless - 
moved to its current location one year ago. It is one of two homeless 
shelters for single men in town, and the only one that admits intoxicated 
residents.

The Framingham Interfaith Clergy Association founded the wet shelter in 1993 
after an incident in which several homeless people died trying to light a 
fire inside a van.

''The Framingham clergy felt no one should be denied shelter just because 
they're under the influence,'' said the Rev. Ellen Tatro, pastor of First 
and Park Street Baptist churches.

Clergy banded together to run a wet shelter, first at Grace Church, then at 
the Detox Center, then at the Salvation Army, and until last year at the 
Park Street Baptist Church.

''It was a huge commitment for a church to run an open shelter every night 
of the week,'' Tatro said.

The Interfaith group was glad when the South Middlesex Opportunity Council 
assumed control of the shelter last October, she said.

Because of friction with the neighborhood, the Opportunity Council has 
considered relocating the shelter and turning the building on Columbia 
Street into a group home, Cuddy said.

For Gilbert and other concerned neighbors, such a move couldn't come soon 
enough.

''I'd like to see SMOC shut it down,'' Gilbert said. ''With the elderly in 
the neighborhood, it has to be safe, and it's just not safe right now. 
They've caused a lot of problems in the neighborhood.''

Advocates for the homeless plan to turn out in force at tomorrow's Board of 
Selectmen meeting to voice their support for a wet facility in town.

''Nobody should sleep outside in the winter,'' said Margo Deane, head of the 
Framingham Coalition Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse. ''There's definitely a 
need for a wet shelter.''

For Tatro, who was involved in the wet shelter from its inception eight 
years ago, what she characterized as today's ''housing crisis'' makes it all 
the more imperative that the town provide adequate shelter for those with 
nowhere to sleep.

''My fear is that the wet shelter will be closed down,'' Tatro said. ''Then 
we'll be putting these people back out in the weeds, in the train stations, 
on the streets.''


Thanassis Cambanis can be reached at 508-820-4233 or tcambanis@globe.com.


This story ran on page B2 of the Boston Globe on 10/17/2001.

---End of forwarded article---

~~~fyi:

South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC):

http://www.smoc.org

-- "Organizing Resources for Social Change"

Contact information:

SMOC
300 Howard Street
Framingham MA 01702
Phone (508) 872-4853
Fax (508) 620-2310


Town of Framingham:

http://www.framinghamma.org

-- "Framingham is a diverse community located 20 miles west of Boston."

Contact information:

George P. King Jr.,
Town Manager
E-mail: gpk@framinghamma.org


Board of Selectmen
Memorial Building
150 Concord Street
Framingham,  MA  01702-8373
Telephone [508] 620-4811
Fax [508] 620-5910
Email: selectmen@framinghamma.org


Selectmen's Agenda 10/18/2001
<http://www.framinghamma.org/web/Agendas/Selectmen.htm>

Meeting Agenda
October 18, 2001    7:30 P.M.
Ablondi Room, Memorial Building

Memorial Building
150 Concord Street, Rm. 121
Framingham,  MA  01702-8373
Telephone [508] 620-4811
Fax [508] 620-5910
Email: selectmen@framinghamma.org


Public Participation
I. Hearings
A. Request for All Alcohol Retail
    License - Skazka, Inc.
B. Request for Transfer of All
    Alcohol License from Not
    Your Average Joe's to
    Cosmopolitan Grill
C. Petition to Lay Conduit - RCN
II. Report - Framingham Bicycle
    and Pedestrian Advisory
    Committee
III. Joint Appointment to Edgell
    Grove Cemetery Trustees
IV. Conference - Columbia House -
    S.M.O.C.
( Postponed to 11/01/01)
V. Report - High School Building
    Committee
VI. Report - Apartment Building
    Valuation
Michael Flynn, Town Assessor
VII. Conference - FY02 Budget
    Recommendation
Robert Addelson, CFO
VIII. Town Manager's Report

IX. Selectmen's Reports
X. Action Items
A. Approval of Veterans Monument
    for Peace - Peace Council
B. Approval of Entertainment
    License - Framingham Coalition
C. Approval of 10/4/01 Open
    Session Minutes
D. Approval of 10/4/01 Exec.
    Session Minutes
XI. Executive Session

--------------------------------------------------------

**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
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

--------------------------------------------------------

-------End of forward-------

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




_________________________________________________________________
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp