Kim Janey Open To Housing Homeless Bostonians In Roxbury Hotel

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What’s the solution to the homeless problem in Boston?

Is it to put homeless people up in hotels on the taxpayers’ dime?

Kim Janey, the acting mayor of Boston, is open to that idea.

“We will continue to work with residents in the area — we continue to work with nonprofit leaders who are experts in this space to see if there’s an opportunity to use this as supportive housing,” Janey said during a press conference this week.

The idea that’s been floated is to use the Best Western in Roxbury, known as Roxbury Roundhouse, to house some homeless people. The Best Western shut down at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and has shown no signs that it will re-open anytime soon. Its location is 891 Massachusetts Avenue. Many people know the area as “Methadone Mile” — a part of the city where homeless people congregate and use drugs outside near a methadone clinic.

This proposal comes in the wake of news last week that Victory Programs told its stakeholders it would no longer pursue a lease of part of the Roundhouse building. The organization was looking at having a 14-to-35-bed transitional, low-threshold shelter, as The Boston Sun reported.

“Victory Programs is no longer seeking to rent 891 Massachusetts Avenue as a location for 14 to 35 transitional beds,” Victory Programs executive director Sarah Porter wrote in the letter, according to The Boston Sun. “The plan will not move forward at that site. We thank the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the many individuals who supported this effort. But in the end, the outcry of opposition to this plan at this location was loud and forceful, including from elected officials who had originally supported the idea.

“We will stop, regroup, and continue to explore other options,” she continued. “We will count on elected officials and community members who have expressed their commitment to helping both this effort and others similar move forward.”

Victory Programs, according to its web site, “is a Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families who are homeless and may have substance use disorders, often accompanied by chronic health issues like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and mental illness.”


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