[Hpn] sometimes I don't like people and her is one reason

joe reynolds jos_reyn@yahoo.com
Sun, 29 Jun 2003 15:49:49 -0700 (PDT)


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South Boston bans van for homeless 
Called 'disservice' to neighborhood 
By David Abel, Globe Staff, 6/19/2003 
onvinced that the large white van from the Pine Street Inn is encouraging homelessness, South Boston leaders have banned the outreach vehicle from the neighborhood. 
 
''I told them whoever is coming here to give aid and comfort to the derelicts is doing a great disservice to our neighborhood,'' longtime City Councilor James M. Kelly said. ''It's just an encouragement for them to settle in ... We should not be encouraging people to break the law, especially when they're living in our parks and harassing our neighbors.''

Since the Pine Street Inn, the region's largest homeless shelter, began sending out teams of social workers and nurses to the city's neighborhoods in 1986, community leaders have raised questions about the van.

A few weeks ago, a homeless couple camping in Southie's Flaherty Park allegedly attacked homeowner Fran Flaherty, 47, leaving him with nine stitches around his eye and a collection of bruises. After Flaherty called neighborhood leaders, Kelly told the city he wanted the outreach efforts stopped.

''I suggested they could come back, so long as they take the derelicts with them,'' said Kelly, who represents South Boston, which has one of the city's largest homeless populations, with scores of people sleeping nightly on the streets.

Officials at the Pine Street Inn say they understand concerns about their work. But they argue the problems will only get worse if they cannot reach out to those most in need. 

''We're not a take-out restaurant service,'' said Shepley Metcalf, Pine Street Inn spokeswoman. ''We do bring clothing, blankets, and food. But the real mission of the van is to establish relationships with the most vulnerable groups, and to encourage them to come off the streets.''

The outreach workers try to coax the homeless to come to a shelter for the night or at least meet with social workers. A doctor who travels with the van twice a week provides medical care and persuades many to visit him at a free health clinic in the city. Outreach workers are concerned that Southie's homeless will suffer if the shelter cannot contact them for an extended time.

''The problem is not going to be solved by ignoring it,'' Metcalf said. ''There has to be a broad-minded strategy, and hopefully, some compassion.'' 

Flaherty, who is recovering from his injuries, wants the city to sweep the homeless from his neighborhood. For weeks before the attack, he had watched homeless people drink liquor in the park, which is named for a relative. He saw one man defecate in a parking lot. When he came across a couple nestled in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk beside his home, Flaherty asked them to leave - and they allegedly attacked him. 

''In all my life, I've never seen it as bad as it now,'' said Flaherty, who lives in the same Bolton Street home where he grew up. ''It's crazy - it's like they're everywhere.''

Shortly after the attack, Kelly met with police and the city's homeless advocates to deliver this message to the Pine Street Inn: Its van should not return to Southie. 

Since then, though the van has stayed away, homeless advocates have been trying to persuade Kelly to reconsider. 

''I'm hopeful that our shared concern for Boston residents, whether housed or unhoused, will enable us to resolve this issue,'' said Eliza Greenberg, director of the Emergency Shelter Commission, who is meeting Kelly on Monday. 

Already, police and city agencies have dismantled shanties built in Flaherty Park and torn down an elaborate structure that housed at least six people in an abandoned field beside the new convention center. 

Perched one recent night atop a wall along Broadway, a group of homeless people who called themselves the ''Wall Nuts,'' bitterly complained about not seeing the outreach van in a few weeks.

''Just because one person got into a fight, they take it out on the rest of us?'' said Liz Grenier, 46, who like the others said she has lived in Southie her entire life. 

Homeless since her boyfriend died several years ago, she said, she sleeps in ATM vestibules. ''We're starving to death, and it would be nice to have a blanket at night,'' she said.

Next to her, Phillip Fisher explained why the group didn't leave for other neighborhoods, where the van visits every night.

''This is our town, and we're not going to be kicked out,'' said Fisher, 58, who has lived on Southie streets for the past three decades. ''They'll have to throw us in jail to make us leave.''

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com.



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<DIV>
<P><FONT size=+2><B>South Boston bans van for homeless</B></FONT> 
<P><FONT size=+1>Called 'disservice' to neighborhood</FONT> 
<P><FONT size=-1><B>By David Abel, Globe Staff, 6/19/2003</B></FONT> 
<P><WIRE_BODY><IMG alt=C src="http://graphics.boston.com/globe/images/dropcaps/C.gif" align=left>onvinced that the large white van from the Pine Street Inn is encouraging homelessness, South Boston leaders have banned the outreach vehicle from the neighborhood. 
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  OAS_AD('CENTRAL');
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<A href="http://rmedia.boston.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/www.boston.com/news/globe/metro/28468/CENTRAL/h_realestate_real01b/re_bigad_052103_1.gif/30613030303035613365666636626330" target=_top></A>&nbsp;<!------ End OAS MJX Ad tag ------>
<P>''I told them whoever is coming here to give aid and comfort to the derelicts is doing a great disservice to our neighborhood,'' longtime City Councilor James M. Kelly said. ''It's just an encouragement for them to settle in ... We should not be encouraging people to break the law, especially when they're living in our parks and harassing our neighbors.''</P>
<P>Since the Pine Street Inn, the region's largest homeless shelter, began sending out teams of social workers and nurses to the city's neighborhoods in 1986, community leaders have raised questions about the van.</P>
<P>A few weeks ago, a homeless couple camping in Southie's Flaherty Park allegedly attacked homeowner Fran Flaherty, 47, leaving him with nine stitches around his eye and a collection of bruises. After Flaherty called neighborhood leaders, Kelly told the city he wanted the outreach efforts stopped.</P>
<P>''I suggested they could come back, so long as they take the derelicts with them,'' said Kelly, who represents South Boston, which has one of the city's largest homeless populations, with scores of people sleeping nightly on the streets.</P>
<P>Officials at the Pine Street Inn say they understand concerns about their work. But they argue the problems will only get worse if they cannot reach out to those most in need. </P>
<P>''We're not a take-out restaurant service,'' said Shepley Metcalf, Pine Street Inn spokeswoman. ''We do bring clothing, blankets, and food. But the real mission of the van is to establish relationships with the most vulnerable groups, and to encourage them to come off the streets.''</P>
<P>The outreach workers try to coax the homeless to come to a shelter for the night or at least meet with social workers. A doctor who travels with the van twice a week provides medical care and persuades many to visit him at a free health clinic in the city. Outreach workers are concerned that Southie's homeless will suffer if the shelter cannot contact them for an extended time.</P>
<P>''The problem is not going to be solved by ignoring it,'' Metcalf said. ''There has to be a broad-minded strategy, and hopefully, some compassion.'' </P>
<P>Flaherty, who is recovering from his injuries, wants the city to sweep the homeless from his neighborhood. For weeks before the attack, he had watched homeless people drink liquor in the park, which is named for a relative. He saw one man defecate in a parking lot. When he came across a couple nestled in a sleeping bag on the sidewalk beside his home, Flaherty asked them to leave - and they allegedly attacked him. </P>
<P>''In all my life, I've never seen it as bad as it now,'' said Flaherty, who lives in the same Bolton Street home where he grew up. ''It's crazy - it's like they're everywhere.''</P>
<P>Shortly after the attack, Kelly met with police and the city's homeless advocates to deliver this message to the Pine Street Inn: Its van should not return to Southie. </P>
<P>Since then, though the van has stayed away, homeless advocates have been trying to persuade Kelly to reconsider. </P>
<P>''I'm hopeful that our shared concern for Boston residents, whether housed or unhoused, will enable us to resolve this issue,'' said Eliza Greenberg, director of the Emergency Shelter Commission, who is meeting Kelly on Monday. </P>
<P>Already, police and city agencies have dismantled shanties built in Flaherty Park and torn down an elaborate structure that housed at least six people in an abandoned field beside the new convention center. </P>
<P>Perched one recent night atop a wall along Broadway, a group of homeless people who called themselves the ''Wall Nuts,'' bitterly complained about not seeing the outreach van in a few weeks.</P>
<P>''Just because one person got into a fight, they take it out on the rest of us?'' said Liz Grenier, 46, who like the others said she has lived in Southie her entire life. </P>
<P>Homeless since her boyfriend died several years ago, she said, she sleeps in ATM vestibules. ''We're starving to death, and it would be nice to have a blanket at night,'' she said.</P>
<P>Next to her, Phillip Fisher explained why the group didn't leave for other neighborhoods, where the van visits every night.</P>
<P>''This is our town, and we're not going to be kicked out,'' said Fisher, 58, who has lived on Southie streets for the past three decades. ''They'll have to throw us in jail to make us leave.''</P>
<P><I>David Abel can be reached at </I><A href="mailto: dabel@globe.com">dabel@globe.com</A><I>.</I></P></DIV><p><hr SIZE=1>
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