[Hpn] Trying to talk the homeless into shelters

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Tue, 12 Feb 2008 08:16:14 -0500


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 http://www.wickedlocal.com/quincy/homepage/x1224707090
Trying to talk the homeless into shelters
By Lane Lambert
Tue Feb 12, 2008

 When the weather gets this cold, John Yazwinski and his outreach =
workers at Father Bill's Place know where to look for the street folks.

They check the groves in Faxon Park, the scrub behind the CVS store on =
Southern Artery and the vacant spaces around the old Fore River =
shipyard. Whenever they find someone camped out, they have the same =
message: Come inside.

As the coldest wind-chills of the season set in Monday and with sleet =
and snow predicted for tonight, dozens of homeless men and women are =
taking that offer at the Quincy homeless shelter and the affiliated =
MainSpring shelter in Brockton.

"It's too cold for people to stay outside," said Yazwinski, who's =
president and chief executive officer for both facilities. "We're pretty =
much full all day and night."

In recent weeks Father Bill's has been providing meals and space to =
sleep for an average of 110 people a night. Some nights at least 20 of =
them are men and women who usually stay outdoors but take a cot or =
sleeping bag on the shelter floor to avoid freezing to death.

MainSpring's overcrowding is similar, with an average of 65 overnight =
guests in a space that usually holds 40 beds.

"We've done a good job of getting people who didn't want to come =
inside," Yazwinski said. "But it's a day-to-day struggle, because you =
can't force them in."

Yazwinski said many of the small number who resist the shelters' have =
alcohol or drug problems, mental illness, or both. Some don't like being =
in large groups or bristle at shelter rules.

Even though some people refuse shelter, there have been no local, =
weather-related homeless deaths for at least three years.

In April 2004 a homeless woman was found dead near the North Quincy Red =
Line station. She had been a former guest at Father Bill's.

In Plymouth, a task force of six churches has been sheltering a dozen =
people on the coldest nights, while about 18 more are staying with =
friends.

Task force director Connie Melahoures said she knows of a couple of =
people who are sleeping in their cars this winter, and one man who =
refuses to stay in a church because he's not allowed to drink there.

"If I knew where he was staying, I'd try to talk to him," she said.

Lane Lambert may be reached at llambert@ledger.com.



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<H1>Trying to talk the homeless into shelters</H1>
<H4>By Lane Lambert</H4>
<H4>Tue Feb 12, 2008
<DIV id=3DshareContainer style=3D"DISPLAY: none">
<DIV id=3Dshare style=3D"DISPLAY: none"><FONT face=3DArial=20
size=3D2></FONT></H4>&nbsp;</DIV></DIV>
<DIV id=3DstoryBody style=3D"DISPLAY: block">
<P><SPAN style=3D"TEXT-TRANSFORM: uppercase">&nbsp;</SPAN>When the =
weather gets=20
this cold, John Yazwinski and his outreach workers at Father Bill=92s =
Place know=20
where to look for the street folks.</P>
<P>They check the groves in Faxon Park, the scrub behind the CVS store =
on=20
Southern Artery and the vacant spaces around the old Fore River =
shipyard.=20
Whenever they find someone camped out, they have the same message: Come=20
inside.</P>
<P>As the coldest wind-chills of the season set in Monday and with sleet =
and=20
snow predicted for tonight, dozens of homeless men and women are taking =
that=20
offer at the Quincy homeless shelter and the affiliated MainSpring =
shelter in=20
Brockton.</P>
<P>=93It=92s too cold for people to stay outside,=94 said Yazwinski, =
who=92s president=20
and chief executive officer for both facilities. =93We=92re pretty much =
full all day=20
and night.=94</P>
<P>In recent weeks Father Bill=92s has been providing meals and space to =
sleep for=20
an average of 110 people a night. Some nights at least 20 of them are =
men and=20
women who usually stay outdoors but take a cot or sleeping bag on the =
shelter=20
floor to avoid freezing to death.</P>
<P>MainSpring=92s overcrowding is similar, with an average of 65 =
overnight guests=20
in a space that usually holds 40 beds.</P>
<P>=93We=92ve done a good job of getting people who didn=92t want to =
come inside,=94=20
Yazwinski said. =93But it=92s a day-to-day struggle, because you can=92t =
force them=20
in.=94</P>
<P>Yazwinski said many of the small number who resist the shelters=92 =
have alcohol=20
or drug problems, mental illness, or both. Some don=92t like being in =
large groups=20
or bristle at shelter rules.</P>
<P>Even though some people refuse shelter, there have been no local,=20
weather-related homeless deaths for at least three years.</P>
<P>In April 2004 a homeless woman was found dead near the North Quincy =
Red Line=20
station. She had been a former guest at Father Bill=92s.</P>
<P>In Plymouth, a task force of six churches has been sheltering a dozen =
people=20
on the coldest nights, while about 18 more are staying with friends.</P>
<P>Task force director Connie Melahoures said she knows of a couple of =
people=20
who are sleeping in their cars this winter, and one man who refuses to =
stay in a=20
church because he=92s not allowed to drink there.</P>
<P>=93If I knew where he was staying, I=92d try to talk to him,=94 she =
said.</P>
<P>Lane Lambert may be reached at <A =
href=3D"mailto:llambert@ledger.com"><FONT=20
color=3D#003c6b>llambert@ledger.com</FONT></A>.</P></DIV>
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