A message from Pastor Crowley:
Several weeks ago the Long Island shelter was closed after a state inspection found that an aging two-lane bridge connecting the island in Boston Harbor to the mainland was too dangerous for vehicles to cross.
As a result, more than 400 homeless people and as many as 300 others in recovery programs on Long Island are displaced and without a warm place to sleep. Sadly, It could be as long as five years and cost some $90 million before the 64-year-old bridge is replaced.
However, in the meantime several of my Boston Metro area clergy are seeking to address the needs of these refugees!
Furthermore, I along with my colleagues do not believe the response from the mayor’s office constitutes “adequate, dignified and stable shelter.”
Looking for response to clergy letter
We do not believe the response from the mayor’s office constitutes “adequate, dignified and stable shelter.”
Communication to the displaced guests and staff of Long Island has been insufficient.
Drop in day shelters (churches can provide space if city provides the staffing)
Support for the staff responding to the increased need.
Lockers for homeless people to store their items.
Today we met and came up with the following requests:
First we are seeking several small additions to the provisions for Long Island Refugees right now — while everyone waits to relocate. These are all very humble, (almost embarrassingly humble) requests, but they are also very important to the folks themselves – and in fact have come from them: 1) lockers for folks now — hardly anyone is collecting their gear from the Island because they’ve no place to store it safely and carrying around everything all day only makes it harder to find a safe space to be in during the cold — but you know all this… 2) additional drop in centers/safe places to be during the day until relocation to Mattapan/Roxbury/South End in order to prevent or at least ameliorate mounting tensions in overpacked locations as is. 3) some kind of improved communication between city gov and the displaced men and women so folks know what is happening before, not after, everyone else.
Second, the faith community is hoping to help in whatever way we can. We have been compiling lists of what the churches can offer — materially and otherwise – to help you help those displaced. (including possible usage of space for safe drop in centers until relocation to Roxbury/Mattapan/frontage Road, possible overnight space to reduce crowding at gym/Maginnis/St Francis House, as well as offering real support around helping you with whatever difficulties might arise re: relocation to Boston Neighborhoods.
Third, we are hoping that all this can be a beginning of future working together on a regular, non-crisis basis to improve the day to day lives of folks living on the street and in shelters of Boston.
PLEASE JOIN US IN BOMBARDING THE MAYORS OFFICE WITH CALLS, EMAILS, AND LETTERS.
More information to come!