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State to set up temporary housing for Mass/Cass homeless at Shattuck Hospital campus in Franklin Park

A Pallet shelter

A Pallet shelter.

The state next month will set up a "temporary cottage community" on the grounds of Shattuck Hospital in Franklin Park to house and care for up to 30 people who now live - or try to live - in tents along Methadone Mile, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders said today.

In e-mail to advocates, Sudders said the state is buying "18 private lockable sleeping cabins, each with one or two beds, personal climate control and storage for possessions" from a company called Pallet - which says the units can be set up in as little as an hour. And:

The state will also contract with a local health and human service provider to provide immediate onsite services, such as meals, laundry, case management and mental health and addiction services, with the goal of supporting residents in their transition from the streets to permanent housing and longer-term stability. The provider will also be responsible for general oversight of the community, including 24/7 security, as the safety of the residents as well as hospital staff, patients and the surrounding neighborhoods is paramount. The housing is expected to be operational in December.

Sudders added:

The Temporary Cottage Community, although temporary, represents the first phase of implementation of the longer-term plans for supportive housing and services envisioned on the campus.

Under current plans, the state says it will move all current in-patient medical and psychiatric programs at Shattuck to a building on the Boston Medical Center campus and then lease the Shattuck grounds for creation of "supportive housing" and public- and behavioral health programs.

The plans are opposed by park and open-space advocates, who say the 13-acre site should be re-integrated with the rest of Franklin Park as parkland. They have suggested the state focus its attention on the former MBTA headquarters at nearby Arborway bus yard for social services.

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Comments

The added benefit of being in quiet and fresh air instead of noise and fresh exhaust may help too.

I’d be glad to see some of these in parking spaces on quieter side streets around the city. Not only to keep this problem in the public eye but for those in need who aren’t ready for country living.

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This isn't a city mouse country mouse situation. A metal box with one or two people living in it does not belong on any quiet street in any community. It barely belongs in a field next to a large beautiful park.

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… providing housing to the metal boxes we have now that sometimes provide housing but mostly provide noise, noxious gases and fear and danger to anyone not in one of those metal boxes who is trying to use our streets.

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They're a helluva lot better than tents or, you know, nothing.

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is already full of a bunch of boxes with people living in them. These are just smaller and made of different materials.

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I would put them by Jamaica Pond, in Columbus Park, in the Public Garden, a few parking spaces on Chestnut Street and Mount Vernon Street on Beacon Hill.

I would also put them on any available space on Bay State Road by BU and on the green overlooking the Esplanade by the BU Bridge. A few should go right in front of the Chan Building at HMS.

Why not?

The Mass and Cass issues would be cleaned up right quick if it was done.

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I agree with you.

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what's that saying about a broken clock?

Not that it applies here but people aren't **always** on polar opposites. And on some issues, we can agree on collectively.. like this one.

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Yes, Mother.

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Why should only Bostonians have to deal with this? Put some in the suburbs. The majority of the people at methadone mile are not from Boston.

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Just like you or me.
I wasn’t aware anyone had to apply for permission to be a Bostonian.

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How does one go about living in Boston rent-free?

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You do realize lots of Bostonians, of all levels of affluence, live here without paying rent, don’t you?
Say what you really mean.

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Unless you are living on the streets or squatting in an abandoned building, someone is paying either rent, mortgage, and/or property tax. That someone could be the tenant, parents, spouse, relative, friends, the government (subsidy), etc., but there is someone. And I'd say there is a form of "application" involved on some level, whether it be a lease agreement, loan, etc.

I think Kinopio's point is valid (I can't believe I just wrote that). I don't think it should be just on Boston to deal with a statewide issue.

You constantly harp on car culture.

These people cannot afford a car.

How will they be able to normalized their lives if they can't get to treatment, jobs, doctor appointments, etc.?

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But it is possible to have treatment, healthcare, grocery stores, and employment in walking distance outside of the Boston Metro area. Housing needs to be created with the support systems required.

As a former Bostonian living in said suburbs, I would like to inform the writer of this comment that there is homelessness here too. May not be as visible, but it sure as hell is here. Wake up and look around. And educate yourself.

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Now if there was only some way to make create more housing in that area as opposed to self-storage boxes.

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Is it Sudders, Sudder, or Sutter? You’re using all three.

And as someone who's been on some committees with her, I'll add that she's ridiculous.

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Fixed in the post.

The MBTA building isn't abandoned. I was there today. It is very much not abandoned.

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It's *barely* used. And the City's "pole yard" is abandoned, as is much of the rest of the site.

But the T won't give it up for years even if it could provide much needed revenue to the agency.

And also be a good place to build a lot of fucking houses.

It is amazing what happens when people with alternative agendas leave and adults are brought into the room.

This is a temporary measure that needs follow through by the state, city and surrounding communities. When Mass and Cass is cleared out, the homeless and the addicted will still need help.

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Where will these folks go to the bathroom? What kind of services will there be for them? What kind of medical support? What will they do during the day? Will anyone be keeping an eye on things at night?

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It is only new around here.

The usual operating plan is to have a shower and laundry building, staff around 24/7, and transportation to any off-site programs.

The article mentions access to medical and substance abuse treatment.

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The path to stability out of homelessness begins with a safe place to sleep and a supportive environment. The Temporary Cottage Community will provide low-threshold transitional housing and wraparound services for up to 30 individuals. The housing will be provided in the form of 18 private lockable sleeping cabins, each with one or two beds, personal climate control and storage for possessions.

The state will also contract with a local health and human service provider to provide immediate onsite services, such as meals, laundry, case management and mental health and addiction services, with the goal of supporting residents in their transition from the streets to permanent housing and longer-term stability. The provider will also be responsible for general oversight of the community, including 24/7 security, as the safety of the residents as well as hospital staff, patients and the surrounding neighborhoods is paramount. The housing is expected to be operational in December.

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if all the comments here thus far are in earnest. This is not an actual solution for any of the problems that have created the Mass & Cass tent city. People congregate at the intersection because it's right next to the methadone clinics. Methadone clinics require that you physically come in, once or twice a day, to pick up your very-carefully-measured doses of extremely addictive drugs (I'm not hating on methadone, it's a great harms-reduction measure, but it's still a narcotic). A lot of folks, for a lot of different reasons, don't have much of a home to return to after they pick up their daily dose, or they couldn't manage to make the round-trip often enough because they're often suffering from un- (or under-) employment, so they started to hang out nearby. Then the Long Island bridge closed, and a whole lot more people started sleeping and living there because they had nowhere to go and there was no direct transportation from their housing to the methadone clinic. Then came all the attendant problems of having a lot of addicts (current and recovering) clustered in a single place.

All to say: offering housing for 30 people at the far southern edge of the city, an hour or more T ride away from the place where they need to be at least once a day, is theater. It's not a step in the right direction, it's misdirection to make it look like the city is doing something when it has no intention of making the actual changes that would alleviate the problem. The people who end up using this housing will be better off for it, yes, but this doesn't help the actual population of addicts, and it doesn't help the knock-on effects that have made Mass & Cass such a mess.

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I’ve been working as a nurse on Mass Cass for 5+ years. Folks- including those living in the current encampments- are not there because of the methadone clinics. Not even a little bit.

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There is a methadone clinic and an OBAT at the Shattuck. There is (or was pre covid) a very good AA meeting there too.

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So much wrong with this take. First: look at a goddamn map. Franklin Park is pretty much in the geographical center of Boston, and not on the "far southern edge." And it hardly takes an hour to get to BMC from the Shattuck. More like 35 minutes, according to the Transit App.

What "actual changes" are you talking about, that don't include transitional housing and wraparound services in a place that is clean, safe, and accessible? I mean, what public health professional says that's not actually a fundamental step in getting people off the streets? And the 30 people who will be served will come from the "actual population of addicts," so helping them does help the problem. 30 here, 30 there, and we'll start to make some progress. Fortunately some people are actually working on this rather than just throwing rocks like this chump.

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Any and every concrete step taken to address this Mass/Cass issue is met by a chorus of voices who claim it is a) not enough; b) insufficient; c) detrimental; d) not soon enough; e) too soon; f) wrong for any hundred other reasons.

One step does not solve every problem. But the city actually _taking steps_, of any sort, is, IMO, better than letting the situation fester any more than it has. I'm weary of non-stop armchair quarterbacking from members of the general public who are not in a position to actually do the work to make something happen.

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-That don't need to be close to the Methadone clinic. It has grown much bigger than just those clients.

Odd, there appears to be no coverage of this in Boston's other newspaper of record.

Must be awaiting instructions from the Politburo.

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I got a scoop because somebody sent me a copy of Sudders's e-mail, not because the Globe is part of the Comintern.

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If they built these in the seaport district they would be selling for over a million.

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So lets move the problem from one area of the city to another. GREAT IDEA!

Forest Hills Station and the surrounding neighborhood all ready gets large masses of the addicted loitering around, harassing people, and being a public nuisance. Let's make their issues worse while alleviating the "problem" of another neighborhood.

Let Franklin Park be a park and find somewhere else please!!!!!!!

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So lets move the problem from one area of the city to another. GREAT IDEA!

find somewhere else please!!!!!!!

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There are people living directly below my windows on the sidewalk. Too narrow for tents, they crouch in doorways. In front of them are parking spots. Behind my building are two floors of indoor parking with access next to my building. Drivers are constantly going in and out next to these people. I’d gladly see some of this temporary housing set up below me instead of the parked cars. I’d gladly see my entire street closed to private vehicles, mostly belonging to commuters and joy riders, and the travel lanes converted to housing lanes.

There is unused commercial type space places like Bayside Expo... its more secluded and you have the State Police Barracks right there

… it’s not like these people are out to take valuable jobs from Americans.

If you could only hear yourselves.

The government still bans construction of so called "tiny homes" because they don't meet minimum square footage.

Isn't a "tiny home" better than "no home"?

This is what happens all too often with over-regulation: you get unintended consequences that are easy to see from a mile away.

If you want to lower price of housing...we need more housing. Boston, Cambridge should be building towers to the sky filled with apartment units. Increase the housing supply by 20% and rents will start crashing. I might even think that charging higher property taxes for vacant residential units might be a good way to incentivize getting someone into a lease, too, at least until inventory is high enough to matter.

in the Fifth Element.

because being stuck in a locked metal box with a stranger sounds very unsafe.

This is gonna ruin the area. What was once a nice place to take a walk will be filled with needles and human waste in short order. The bums who stay at the current shelter there shoot up and smoke crack regularly on hyde park ave and the side streets, day and night... Now they will have 30 more drug buddies to hang with. Great work. There's no rehabilitation going on there now. You're naive to think there will be with this shitty half baked new plan. Someone just start handing out hot doses of Fentanyl to these people, they suck and don't want to live.

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