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Commentary: Roxbury residents were right to reject shelter

Melvin B. Miller
Commentary: Roxbury residents were right to reject shelter
Roxbury resident Anthony Brewer addresses city officials at a community meeting held Dec. 4 to air views on a proposal to locate addiction recovery programs in the former Radius Hospital building.

The condemnation of the bridge to Long Island was disastrous for the people who relied on the refuge for the homeless there. Long Island was an opportune site because there were no abutters who had to endure the disturbance of those with addiction or social problems. The Radius Hospital on Townsend Street in Roxbury was an extremely inappropriate alternative.

According to a recent Boston Globe report, there has been a major rise in crime in the Newmarket area since the shelter opened in the renovated transportation department building across from Boston Fire Department headquarters. Drug violations are up by 55 percent and aggravated assaults rose by 47 percent. The Best Western Hotel in the round building on Massachusetts Ave near Melnea Cass Blvd has had to hire more security.

When the homeless facility on Long Island was closed, there was an attempt to move it to a closed hospital in Roxbury. However, this is a residential area, adjacent to an elementary school, and only a few blocks away from a high school, a middle school and another elementary school.

Local residents immediately understood the imminent threat to the community. They raised their objections in a packed meeting in the auditorium of the nearby Trotter School. Despite the support of Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz for the shelter relocation to the Radius Hospital site, the intensity of the opposition induced the city government to find another location.

Roxbury resident Anthony Brewer addresses city officials at a community meeting held Dec. 4 to air views on a proposal to locate addiction recovery programs in the former Radius Hospital building.

There was some criticism that the Roxbury community was insensitive to people’s misery. However, with the report of the problems encountered in the Newmarket area, the position of the Munroe Park neighborhood has been vindicated.