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Group of Navy Yard residents sue to block conversion of failed hotel into affordable housing, including units for people trying to get out of homelessness

A group of 11 Charlestown Navy Yard residents today sued the BPDA and two non-profit groups, saying the approval process for a plan to turn a closed hotel into an apartment building where nearly half the units are meant for people trying to get out of homelessness not only violated state bidding laws and their own constitutional rights but will lead to sick, hungry, jobless addicts wandering and maybe even dropping dead in the streets of the historically important neighborhood.

At issue are plans by the Archdiocese of Boston's Planning Office for Urban Affairs and St. Francis House to turn the former YMCA-run Constitution Inn at 150 3rd Ave. in the Navy Yard into 100 apartments, all affordable, with 48 set aside for "permanent supportive housing" aimed at households led by veterans or women coming out of homelessness, and with on-site staff to help them. The YMCA would be allowed to continue to operate its pool and a fitness center until it can find a new location.

The BPDA board approved the project, in which more than half the units, including all the "supportive housing" ones, would be rented to people making no more than 30% of the Boston area median income, on Dec. 14.

In their suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the residents, all condo owners, say the BPDA rammed the project down the neighborhood's throat, disregarding what they said was extensive opposition. They charge the authority failed to comply with state law to put the disposition of the building out to bid, and disregarded its own rules for large projects, such as creating an "impact advisory group" of local residents and business owners to review the proposal.

The BPDA also violated the Open Meeting Law, they allege, adding that during the one Zoom hearing the BPDA held, the authority refused to let some Charlestown residents give testimony even it allowed people it knew were not from Charlestown support the proposal.

On Dec. 14, the suit continues, the BPDA board quickly approved the project without giving opponents a chance to speak.

All this, the suit charges, means the residents' rights were violated, specifically, their "right to assemble, right to free speech, and right to engage in petitioning activity, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Articles 16 and 19 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights."

And the YMCA pool? That violates the building's 1978 deed, which specifically bans pools, they charge, adding the city let the Y stay even though it long ago stopped paying rent on the building.

But as aghast as the residents are at the way the project won approval, they are equally horrified at the idea of formerly homeless people living near them.

According to the suit, Charlestown already has an overburdened medical system and the neighborhood "does not have the requisite resources or services to support the homeless population, the majority of which have complex health problems - both mental and physical - and are often dealing with substance abuse."

And let's not forget that Charlestown already has problems with ambulance staffing and does not have a full-time police station, all of which becomes critical because, the suit states - without specific citations - that "permanent supportive housing" for the homeless "does not decrease the number of overdoses or deaths."

The suit says no medical facilities near the Navy Yard are even accepting new patients, and the closest one that does is in Assembly Square, 1 1/2 miles away.

But because the building will have no parking spaces, residents of the new building, with their complex, sickly ways, will have no way to get there. That applies equally to the lack of supermarkets and pharmacies - and jobs - in the area, they charge.

At the same time, the residents also charge the building will lead to more traffic and parking problems.

The residents are seeking a trial at which to make their case why the project should be rejected and they and their attorneys should be compensated for bringing the suit.

Complete complaint (26M PDF).
BPDA documents on the plan.

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Comments

You officially suck.

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Voting closed 248

just on the fact that there’s not enough parking. And for you transit orientated dreamers, it’s no where near a T station.

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Voting closed 93

It's a little under a mile from North Station. There's frequent bus service. Also a ferry.

(I used to work in the Navy Yard, and pretty much everyone took transit.)

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Voting closed 246

There isn't frequent bus service. Some 93 buses go to the Navy Yard, but most don't. It might have seemed like service was more frequent if you worked there and commuted during peak hours, but off peak, the 93 goes through about once an hour.

The nearby 92 doesn't even run weekends. The ferry only goes every 30 minutes.

They also pointed out there's no medical office there, no grocery store nearby, pharmacy, etc.

The main objection I've heard from Charlestown residents is that currently addicted folks will be housed there, with limited support, and that while drugs are not allowed on site, no one will actually be tested.

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Voting closed 122

It's not that you can't get from here to there - it's that ppl don't want to take the busses ot the train.

This city has choked itself with cars and ignored train infrastructure for 40 years. We are a laughing stock in the world of global cities.

Basically the rich ppl of the Navy Yard don't want recovering ppl and/or families living near them. Just admit it - much easier that way.

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Voting closed 117

"Charlestown already has an overburdened medical system and the neighborhood "does not have the requisite resources or services to support the homeless population, the majority of which have complex health problems - both mental and physical - and are often dealing with substance abuse."

When your bullshit rhetoric becomes immoral, I don't know how anyone could associate themselves with this.

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Voting closed 245

When the government is threatening to erase a decade or so of equity, or just put them so far under water they might as well walk away from their mortgage, folks will try just about any more "acceptable" excuse. "I don't think it's fair that the government is going to reduce my net worth by $200k" isn't going to play as well in the court of public opinion.

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Voting closed 120

That's a good one. Walk away from a ten year old mortgage and find a better deal in the current housing market.

People seem to have gotten the idea that a house should be a jackpot they are just waiting to cash in. That's not something people are entitled to. They inflate values but creating shortages by standing in the way of new construction. Meanwhile so many get left out in the cold, literally. It's gotten completely dysfunctional.

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Voting closed 126

Careful, stuff many more words in my mouth and I'll choke.

Folks walk away from mortgages that are underwater all the time. They don't "find a better deal" they rent, because they have no money, because their wealth was tied up in a house with a mortgage worth more than it is.

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Voting closed 154

Which demonstrates my point how crazy home buyers have become. In my parents generation you would figure out your budget and buy a house to live in. You were getting a return on your investment no matter what because you would *own* something instead of burning rent money.

Now people feel like they are "losing" money if the value of the house doesn't increase exponentially. It's a pyramid scheme, it is not sustainable.

The government doesn't have to keep the world trapped in amber to preserve "property values" for some people at the expense of others who need a roof over their head.

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Voting closed 249

Cough increasing in value cough
Cough return on investment cough

Depending on how badly you are underwater, and boy, a homeless shelter getting slammed down next to your house is going to put some folks way underwater, you often would be in a better financial position to walk away from the mortgage, rent for 3 years, and then buy back the same unit you walked away from.

You are acting like folks are acting entitled to be rich. I'm saying they aren't acting entitled when the government is threatening to turn back the clock 5 to 10 years on their retirement.

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Voting closed 235

Here's a lozenge for that cough.

It's not a homeless shelter. It's apartments. Some people living there will be people who were formerly homeless. There will be on site assistance services. There is no reason to think this will send the neighborhood into a downward spiral. There will always be strong demand in that area. People will not be underwater. This isn't Detroit.

People shouldn't be depending on huge profits from the sale of their house to fund their retirement. Housing is always somewhat speculative as an investment. You should buy a house because you intend to live there, not in anticipation of a windfall someday. The government shouldn't be picking them as winners over the people who could't afford to buy and now can't afford to rent.

Why is now the magic moment everything gets frozen? Because now these people got their's so to hell with all the people struggling with the current housing market?

Anyone who lives anywhere the T goes should expect more density. Zoning changes are being required by law. If people can't handle that they should move further out. Due to the housing crisis, some of the people moving in will be coming out of homelessness. That doesn't mean they will destroy the neighborhood.

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Voting closed 106

Same court of public opinion thinks Walgreens needs to cough up a cool $10M for being a business rather than a charity.

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Voting closed 239

Is in Charlestown. And Charlestown isn't a geographically large neighborhood.

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Voting closed 127

This was my gym for many years when I lived in the north end. At that time, the hotel was used primarily for temporary housing for unhoused people. The red cross used it for people displaced by fire. So there's a precedent for this sort of use at that location.

And who objects to having a pool in the neighborhood anyway? That part is just weird.

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Voting closed 103

Transit to this area is limited to the Charlestown-Long Wharf ferry and some (not all) runs of the #93 bus. The only supermarket and pharmacy are Whole Foods and CVS in the plaza across from Thompson Square, which has no direct transit access to the Navy Yard. In general, Charlestown is a bit of a commercial desert.

I wouldn't oppose the development, yet the location has challenges.

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Voting closed 145

The folks in the Bunker Hill housing projects have existed for decades under the same transit/supermarket conditions.

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Voting closed 103

For a geographically small neighborhood?They took a big one for the team.

Perhaps they can built it next door to your home/apartment/condo

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Voting closed 249

The Bunker Hill Housing Project is a HUGE project and I was actually hoping the original plans which included higher buildings would succeed.

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Voting closed 124

As one of the last remaining townies in C-Town I got more gripes with the transplants who drove out my neighbors through gentrification and the property tax hikes as a result than I ever did with anyone in the projects.

And a hearty EFF HUE about that "perhaps they can built it next door to your home"

What's wrong with project residents? I grew up there, my spouse grew up in a project on the other side of town and both of us contribute to our community. We did the right thing growing up and got post-grad degrees (it's "build" not "built", chief. Something we learned in BPS) which wouldn't have been possible if our housing was unstable when we were growing up.

I'm a project success story and I'm damn proud to be from Charlestown, these 11 clowns don't speak for me and I hope you have the day you deserve.

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Voting closed 234

When johnny's foodmaster first closed down and whole foods was brought in they had a shuttle bus that picked up at the plaza and brought folks (mainly the senior citizen population, so maybe related to the center?) to the stop+shop in Somerville.

Does anyone know if that's still a thing?

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Voting closed 108

Not really true though - all 93 buses go by the bunker hill housing project. Most 93 buses do NOT go to the naval yard. They are also an easier walk to the main grocery store, but there are more little bodegas on bunker hill. I think there's only one in the naval yard.

When the bunker hill housing project was build, the elevated orange line still existed that went down Main Street through City Square, Thompson Square, and to Sullivan, so it was not built in a transit desert. The residents mainly worked in the Naval Yard.

The view of Charlestown residents is that the city is using the fact that the Archdiocese owns this land to bypass normal processes and honestly put people in an area that is less populated/ visible rather than in the downtown where there are more resources.

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Voting closed 197

These people should be named and shamed (the lawsuit actually probably does name them, doesn't it).

To pile on …

But because the building will have no parking spaces, residents of the new building, with their complex, sickly ways, will have no way to get there. That applies equally to the lack of supermarkets and pharmacies - and jobs - in the area, they charge.

Yes, these people will be walking the streets, but won't be able to walk the street down to the Whole Foods (oh, wait, they're homeless) or across the new bridge to the Star Market. Certainly they wouldn't be able to get on the bus that stops in front of the building and goes to the supermarket, either. No, they'll starve and then die and it will be your fault.

Name and shame:

Melissa A. Brennan
Joseph McPherson (Probably 1000 Joes McPherson in Charlestown)
Kelly Flynn.
Robert O'Leary.
Karen DiPietro (of course, a Karen, fuck you, Karen.)
Nezam Afdahl Do no harm, right, Doc?
Kristanya Florentino This person volunteered for the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Thomas Meehan
Kenneth Friedman.
John Galante: [email protected]
Nancy Mara-Aldrich

(Adam, if doxxing isn't okay, fine, but these people deserve to be known and shunned.)

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Voting closed 119

Nicely done (golf clap)

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Voting closed 156

Shunning absolutely *rocks* and is highly underutilized these days.

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Voting closed 130

The term today is "doxxing".

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Voting closed 117

It’s not docking if the information is publicly available.

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Voting closed 239

Ari - You are shotting into a crowd here when you are trying to be a sniper.

I'd get a good libel lawyer pretty fast if you are wrong on any of these.

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Voting closed 158

Help us understand your commitment to what you think is justice. Let us know your address, and your commitment to homeless housing on your own street, ideally next door.

My guess, which is ok, because you are guessing who some of these people are, is that you are clearly a fraud and would be the first to complain if a housing facility like the one that is proposed, is proposed next door to your home.

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Voting closed 106

You could probably figure out my address pretty easily. I won't dox myself because I'm not joining any frivolous NIMBY lawsuits. But it's all public record.

No one is proposing supportive housing for my current neighborhood, which is too bad, although someone could probably go and camp out in the Star Market No One Goes To and no one would notice. I wish that was housing!

Anyway, when I lived on 9th St in Charlestown I would have 100% supported supportive housing here. (And, yes, I had to deal with parking in the neighborhood, and was plenty able to walk or bike to the grocery store because cars are not for driving around the city.)

When I lived in Cambridgeport a few blocks from Central (as another commenter notes) it didn't kill off the neighborhood.

When I grew up in Newton and there was a public meeting about a nearby development for disabled people. My mom was sure to drag us kidlets along when she went to speak up in favor of it.

If you oppose housing in your neighborhood, especially if it is for people less fortunate than you, you're a bad person.

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Voting closed 104

So they want the residents whom they describe as barely conscious to be driving? Do they realize how stupid they sound? The lack of parking?

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Voting closed 251

I've scrubbed Ari's post of phone numbers and "probablies" (and since he's a registered user of the site, I let him know I was doing that).

Couple things:

I didn't list the names of the plaintiffs in my story because there were 11 of them and it seemed like their issues were the more important thing to get into in the story. Obviously, their names are in the complaint they filed, which is a public document and which, as I typically do with lawsuit stories, I attached to the story.

The stuff that's still in Ari's post is publicly available information (short of contact info) that anybody could (like Ari did) fairly easily find online. Is that doxxing? I'm not sure a LinkedIn account comprises doxxing.

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Voting closed 100

Doxxing a lawyer, that's a bold move Cotton, let's see how that plays out.

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Voting closed 100

It's hard!

Look if you don't want people to know your repugnant views, don't file public lawsuits with your names on them.

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Voting closed 247

If you don't like being called a doxxer, well, don't doxx.

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Voting closed 106

When people are voluntarily disclosing their identities.

If they had a reasonable expectation of anonymity then it would be a different story. Putting your name on a lawsuit going through the public courts isn't a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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Voting closed 98

The city just likes to shuffle around its issues to different far away corners . It’s sad

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Voting closed 247

I think homelessness is a national issue. Where would you like them to live?

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Voting closed 152

I'm'a guess, not in their backyard.

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Voting closed 116

conflictual but not complicated. And yet I'd like to see how some of the respondents here would get all lubed up and yimby were they I this same situation. It's easy to welcome the deeply disordered to someone else's neighborhood, so you've taken that opportunity eh?

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Voting closed 237

Someone once tried to shame me saying the same thing - my response was
"I'd be down for a meth clinic near my home." They didn't have much to say after that.

Addicts aren't horrible people - the drugs they do make them do horrible things.

Before you come at me I've lived with addicts so yes, I know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Voting closed 247

When you think about it, it's pretty bizarre to be against housing for people transitioning out of homelessness because you don't want to live near people who are homeless. Once they move in, they're no longer homeless!

Through policy, we collectively get to decide whether people who are struggling have homes or not. Those are our choices. We don't get to decide whether or not struggling people *exist.*

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Voting closed 148

I live in Central Square. If the four local shelters and the methadone clinic is hurting my quality of life and my property values, I haven't noticed it much.

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Voting closed 97

I lived there for over a decade and probably would still be in that area if we didn't keep getting priced out of apartments.

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Voting closed 162

No sane person wants to deal with that as a neighbor.

We spend BILLIONS yearly on the Homeless Industry, for what are overall a very small proportion of the population. Yet there's a no established, safe, clean nationwide network of facilities where they can live and receive necessary mental and physical healthcare to help function at at least a minimal level required in our society. It's a big racket. Huge.

And in-house psych hospitals need to be as quickly as possible built renovated, with laws changed to make it easier to get unstable , especially homeless, off the streets. Or going on a mass shooting spree.

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Voting closed 107

If you are so scared of the homeless, you should be in favor of this project. Because once the people move in, they will not longer be homeless.

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Voting closed 246

one can't help but find these comments deeply discouraging. there is no collective will to house these people. ya'll are acting like concentration camp prisoners who are glad someone else is getting theirs and not you. according to, oh I dunno, our highest principles, we should all be developing centers for these people in our own neighborhoods. but that is not this paradigm, and the grotesque virtue signaling happening here is like a prurient orgy of moralizing. if you were organizing to get these unhoused people into your own neighborhood, you'd have some credibility. else it is just a sick, twisted, neoliberal canard and a mockery of civic decency. there is a lust in it (doxing? really?) and it is ugly. I hope you all get hangovers TODAY from this binge.

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Voting closed 241

This argument people trotting out every time they want to justify people doing something objectively horrible of wouldn’t you also oppose this if it was near you is so tiring. No I would not. I am not a Nimby like you. There are collective social problems in our community and I want my neighbors suffering from them to get housing and help. I have spoken up in favor of several similar projects within blocks of my house and more broadly in my neighborhood.

People opposing supportive housing in their neighborhood don’t get to turn around and pretend to be superior by saying “ if you were organizing to get these unhoused people into your own neighborhood, you'd have some credibility.” You are literally doing the opposite of the thing you demand your critics do to have credibility, doesn’t that mean you are the one who has none?

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Voting closed 236

I thought the post from Savin Hill last week was grasping at straws but...

This one is even worse. People really will do and say anything to prevent housing from going up near them. The yuppies who paid 1-2mil for their condos don't want poor people living near them.. that is what this is about.

It has nothing to do with

- Lack of a grocery store
- Lack of Medical Facilities
- Lack of public transit
- Lack of Parking
- Lack of anything

The only thing its lacking are supportive neighbors who support the project.

Sad that people are like this.

PS - Way to go Ari. I think Name & Shame should be a thing. You shouldn't be able to nix a housing project without your name appearing in the complaint. If you want to complain you should get no privacy at all.

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Voting closed 243

In regards to lack of parking, do they really think that people who can't afford an apartment are going to own a vehicle in Boston? And shouldn't they be aware that parking is a privilege? They have no right to expect the city to give these NIMBY brats free parking. This is why Boston needs to start charging at least $200 a year for parking permits. Make these spoiled chodes pay something, even if its way below market value.

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Voting closed 192

A lot of homeless people live in - you guessed it - their cars. I would be less surprised to find that a homeless person owns a car than I would if they owned, say, a top line bike, which is still a fraction of the cost of a car. Not everybody who is homeless has been homeless their whole adulthood. Lots of people fall into it and they can keep a hold of the car but not the house.

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Voting closed 118

The problem is that people like those filing the lawsuit want to live in the city, but they want to be surrounded by the socio-economic demographics of a bedroom community in the suburbs.

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Voting closed 148

I lived in Charlestown for years and know a couple of the plaintiffs. They're not yuppies who just moved there - they're multi-generational Townies raising families in the area.

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Voting closed 144

Setting aside the argument of not wanting to live next to the formerly homeless (I am not touching that one), suing the BPDA based on violating open meeting laws may have merit.

The BPDA is the last (quasi) government entity in Boston that has not returned to in-person meetings--and staunchly so. Most public meetings are offered in-person or hybrid--which makes attending and commenting much easier. Zoom-only meetings, while appearing to be open to all, are a hurdle for true participation by people with technological difficulties--the elderly, vision or hearing impaired, people who lack desktops or laptops. While you 'can' use a smartphone to join a Zoom meeting (or a dumb flip phone even), it is very difficult--try attending a 2-hour IAG meeting with lots of slides and charts on a tiny screen (or just audio).

The other hurdle is that the BPDA and the developer (who attends the Zoom meeting at "host" status) have the power of the Mute button. In some BPDA meetings, you can't even see the other participants or their written comments unless you are the host. Use colorful or insulting language (which is an enshrined Massachusetts Constitutional right by the way)--and you get muted. Pre-Covid, a neighborhood could pack an IAG meeting and be heard. Post-Covid? Developers don't even have to leave their comfortable suburban home offices and meet the people whose lives they are disrupting.

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Voting closed 142

Then why the bullshit about how sickly the prospective residents are? It's fascist stuff.

Even if you are trying to teach us something about open meetings these particular people need no apologists.

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Voting closed 239

I made it clear at the very beginning of my comment (for those with poor reading comprehension) that I was not defending their stance against housing the formerly homeless.

If this lawsuit were to successfully prove that the BPDA's Zoom-only meetings are not compliant, it could open up a host of challenges to other projects. A single disgruntled individual could derail a project that is supported by an entire neighborhood because in 2024 the BPDA stubbornly refuses to offer in-person and hybrid meetings.

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Voting closed 156

lol in person meetings at city hall at 2pm on a Wednesday are accessible for the general working public how, exactly? The inability for normal everyday people to attend these meetings is how you had the geriatric crew dictating policy for years.

Hybrid is the way to go. More options for interacting with democracy are always best.

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Voting closed 98

FWIW I suspect the OP is a favor of Hybrid. They are making the the point that they developers should be inconvenienced and have to trod down to city hall and looks the people who show up in theye.

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Voting closed 246

The Zoning Board of Appeal and the Licensing Board still meet online only. The Conservation Commission as well, I think.

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Voting closed 118

For everyone who's angry at these residents, do you live near a homeless housing facility? I lived near Central Square for a long time, and I don't wish it on any neighborhood.

As far as the complaint about the process, I thought everyone here agrees that the BPDA is a terrible agency that needs to be abolished because it doesn't reflect the views of city residents.

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Voting closed 234

I lived near Central Square for a long time

Yeah, me too. The homeless in Central were pretty much fine. CPD presence helped. If you don't like it, move. But they have every right to a roof over their head as do you.

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Voting closed 158

Seriously. I lived in Central Square for nearly a decade. Great place to live. Generally speaking, you don't bother people and they don't bother you, imagine that! Got the occasional street harassment as a woman in my then twenties, but that happened everywhere and from all different types of people.

I get that it makes people uncomfortable to see human suffering like poverty or addiction, that's natural. It's not pleasant and it can bring up uncomfortable questions. Fighting against the very things that reduce that suffering though, because you don't want it near you...yeah, I think it's fair to criticize that.

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Voting closed 147

Central Square is one of the most vibrant and diverse parts of the entire greater Boston area. Anyone not wanting to live there because of the homeless population would be an absolute fool.

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Voting closed 237

Well I live in Chelsealand. The city that gets sht on by the state quite often. We have salt piles, methadone clinics, airport parking, more airport parking, homeless shelters, outreach centers, half way houses... they always seem to find a home here when often they are pushed out of other communities.

So yeah I live near a homeless shelter, a half way house, and some salt piles.

And according to some at city hall, I live on one of the worst streets in town. So yeah watching my security cameras on a hot summer's night is better than what's on TV. So there's alot of activity. I see it.

Even still, just over the hill is the soon-to-be-finished the newly re-constructed Innes Housing development. Over 300 units replacing 100 units. Massive complex. Mostly low-income or public housing units. I'm glad its opening. We need affordable places to live.. even here in Chelsea. I'm not concerned about it not being near a supermarket (MB is a 15m walk) or near medical facilities. It's near the Silver Line and they did (ugh) build a parking deck for it.. But overall, glad to see its there & replacing derelict 1950s public housing buildings.. folks need nice places to live, not dumps. This project aims to fix that.

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Voting closed 235

I used to be able to see the wet shelter in Central by walking about 30 feet from my front door and looking in the correct direction. I wish I could still afford to live there.

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Voting closed 97

A better place for this would be in Downtown Crossing. That area already has more services for the homeless and recently homeless than Charlestown does and there are more public transportation options there, too. Considering the vacancies in DTX post-pandemic, that would be a better place for this project.

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Voting closed 158

Build permanent supporting housing in Milton. There is plenty of underutilized land along Randolph Ave adjacent to the Wollaston Golf Club. The BAT Bus could swing in and residents would have nearly rapid transit. Only 45 minutes to Ashmont in rush hour.

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Voting closed 243

On the Dorchester boarder, right down the road from the new "Comfort Inn" wet shelter on Morrissey Blvd.

Lets attack working class areas to save the elites.

Privilege much?

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Voting closed 152

when people use gps and loose the ability to read maps.

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Voting closed 242

Adam Gaffin the 'publisher' of this rag lives in Roslindale and has been the recent recipient of a Mortgage from Wu's Mayor's Office of Housing. Who is currying favor with the Wu regime??
One dox deserves another. Take down the names and get educated.

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Voting closed 101

Yeah, that thing is listed as a mortgage, but it's really more of a future lien.

We took advantage of a grant program the city has for homeowners over 60 (raises hand) to get a new heating system (and in our case, water heater).

If your system costs more than the grant, you can either pay for the overage right away or have it placed as an interest-free "mortgage" on your home. We chose the latter route, it's interest free, why not? When we sell the house, the city has to be paid the amount.

This may shock you, but, I never talked to Mayor Wu about our grant. Dealt entirely with the folks at the Boston Home Center in Hyde Park. In fact, they sat on it for a couple months because they were waiting to hear from the neighborhood agency they thought had helped us file our application, except I submitted our application directly, without any help from an agency.

It's a great program, if you've reached that age and you meet the income qualifications (sad but true: I have not gotten rich running UHub), apply.

Surprised you didn't look up my PPP loan/grant ($7,498).

Anything else I can tell you?

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Voting closed 115

"Get educated", they say, whilst scattering quotation marks (the wrong kind, even) and Random Capitalization 'around'.

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Voting closed 101

I read "Wu regime" and could tell this is a person with a bullhorn and nothing ot do.

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Voting closed 126

There is a lot of really inflammatory and cruel things being said in this suit, but (and I am not defending the suit as a whole, before people jump all over me), I think there may be a point about the lack of a police station and need for more ambulances. Several people have brought up Central Square as a comparable neighborhood, and I will say there's periods where there's more support (police, city worker, etc) infrastructure in that area and there's periods where there's less and Central Square can feel kind of dangerous in those low swings.

However, you know, the city could just... provide those. They could build the housing AND additional infrastructure to support new residents. Only one ambulance for the area seems like a problem even putting the whole new development aside.

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Voting closed 242

me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…just not, like, me me, you know?

—the entitled clowns bringing this suit

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Voting closed 119

We need to start making it very expensive and very inconvenient for any NIMBY action. Less than a dozen people should never be able to block a development. Get together 50-100 and then we can talk

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Voting closed 240

Even if +100 people were on that petition, they wouldn’t be able to block development if City Hall wants it badly enough. No amount of petitioning or public outcry stopped plans for the massive development on the other side of Charlestown from proceeding.

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Voting closed 133

How many of you mouths live in Charlestown or have a signed P&S for property there?

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Voting closed 98

When you have the money, privilege, and time to file a lawsuit and you do it to attempt to block supportive housing for homeless people you really should start asking yourself that question.

These people should be ashamed of themselves. These frivolous lawsuits delay and drive up the cost of much needed housing for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

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Voting closed 251

So easy to say when it's not happening near you. Why won't you give us your address and we check for for affordable housing options near you as well. Don't make yourself feel good by pretending to be something you're not.

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Voting closed 96

People who need affordable housing are not some blight on society, Kyle, they just usually aren't as lucky to be born with the right parents like those who can afford the expensive housing in the Navy Yard.

NIMBYs like to use this "why don't you ask them to live near you" riposte over and over, but it's just an elementary school comeback used to make the NIMBY feel better. "I know you are, but what am I." People who use it, yes, definitely ARE the baddies.

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Voting closed 242

I refer you to this comment. I already addressed this. This is tedious.

You seem to know it is bad to oppose affordable housing near you and rather than simply not do that, you attempt to catch others who are willing to say that out loud in hypocrisy even when it doesn't exist.

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Voting closed 153

Welp, they got outed in the Globe:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/02/07/business/affordable-housing-charl...

I wonder how much journalism Adam seeds in the Globe day to day.

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Voting closed 107

Its evident that many of the comments are from people who have not been following this since it was first proposed or been in on any of the zoom meetings seeing how you think its just about "homelessness."
Educate yourselves.
This post touches on every aspect of how this project will affect not only The Navy Yard neighborhood but the entire town.

-----------'x

Guest Op-Ed: Erica, Empathy, and the Independence
by Patriot-Bridge Staff • February 8, 2024 •

By Tracy Iannelli

My friend Erica is homeless. When I met her, she was sleeping in her car with her feral dog, Bert. Earlier, Erica lived in the woods with him. She told me she was an attorney, owned a restaurant in Mississippi, taught yoga, and had family all over the United States. Later, I realized that at least two of these statements were untrue. What was true— Bert did bit her hand, breaking her fingers. Erica does not have health insurance. Someone set the bone for her, and provided medication, i.e. drugs.

Erica is a beautiful young woman. One day, her friend Jess offered her a room in her home. In exchange, Jess set conditions. Erica could not use drugs, or drink. She had to get a job. She had to see a mental health professional. This was the “quid pro quo.”

Erica agreed and moved into with Jess. She taught yoga in an upscale studio and was fantastic at it—I was fortunate to practice with her. For six months, Erica lived in the world of normalcy. I had high hopes, and gave her money. We shared email addresses, and kept in touch.

Through my friendship with Erica, I saw another face of homelessness, beyond the boogeyman that some might fear. She is ethereal, consumed with anxiety, morphing in and out of a routine existence. My affection for her led to understanding; Erica struggles to deal with life. She lacks those skills that are innate to many of us. I am certain there is trauma in her past. Situations that are relatively easy to navigate, confound her. She breaks my heart.

It is partially through the lens of knowing Erica, that I view the Constitution Inn conversion, now called the Independence. The more current the data, the more alarming it becomes. Communities who embrace harm reduction strategies; or offer treatment without mandating it, and abstain from testing accountability—they will experience 50 to 90 percent recidivism, or re-lapse. This fact is medically confirmed, and was stated by the proponents.

A January 31, New York Times article, discussing the homeless experience in San Francisco, documented the overdose rate, noting it has risen to double the national average. I understand that the approach proposed at the Independence will be similarly structured. Allowing people to use within the four walls is labelled de-stigmatization, but rapidly escalating death rates suggest that it may become tragic. If residents are receiving subsidies, how is it permissible to allow them to use drugs? Isn’t it wise to monitor how they are doing medically? Bodily autonomy is not solely the province of the user—continued drug use brings the user closer to death, encourages dealers, and endangers others.

While the Independence states there is no illegal drug use permitted, it will not test its’ residents. Identifying people who have relapsed, or are slipping back into mental illness, would enable the proponents to determine the most effective intervention. Without that safety net, negative impacts will become more frequent, and increasingly harmful. This is a flawed strategy in a neighborhood without the resources to fix it. The West End would be a better fit.

A Roxbury neighbor stated frankly, in a recent WBZ/CBS report on migrant relocation, that “Empathy and frustration are not mutually exclusive.” The homeless population is varied, comprised of migrants, substance abusers, alcoholics, people with mental health issues, disabilities, trauma, and poverty—often with more than one condition. Therefore, the need for customized, and coordinated care is necessary beyond housing. That care is currently optional at the Independence.

Charlestown has first-hand knowledge of the substance use crisis. We know that if all it took were love and a home, that no Charlestown family would have experienced the loss to overdose. And, we know that the Independence is not a treatment center, nor should it be. We believe that mixing 160 residents–some in permanent supportive housing, others in affordable housing– could be a problematic combination. The proponents have not shared any data that shows otherwise.

It’s important to continue Erica’s story to understand these complexities. Sadly, her dog died of old age. I saw her that day, and she was inconsolable, in tears. I was afraid she would harm herself. The next day Erica quit her job, and announced that she was driving across country in the same car that she lived in. The last I heard, she made it half way. Since then, emails have gone unanswered. A mutual friend discovered that Erica made it to San Francisco. She was not with friends, but she was with other people. My fear is that those people are a community of other traumatized humans who are on the street, or under a bridge, or in a shelter somewhere. I fear she is lost.

Our city and state must balance our collective empathy and compassion with the most up to date science, incorporating transparent, measurable requirements that ensure better outcomes for all. It is clear that a comprehensive answer lies well beyond a place to live, as Housing First supporters maintain. More recently, there is evidence that sustained treatment prior to what can be the overwhelming responsibility of a home, is gaining traction. The Independence does not require this.

A path to recovery identifies underlying causes, while providing care and aftercare. Regaining control over a life demands the resolve to undertake evidence- based treatments. Instead of public service housing, let’s formalize the commitment from the person seeking housing. The goal then becomes increasing affordable housing, while investing in those candidates- resulting in less permanent supportive housing.

I do not know how Erica’s story will end. The pull of homelessness can be strong, and changing behavior takes time and resources. If only Erica, and those around her, could have continued her journey for a little while longer. If only.

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Voting closed 103