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News :: Human Rights
Video/photos-Boston RallyTo Re-Open Long Island Shelter
23 Aug 2016
Boston City Hall-Aug. 22, 2016:
Boston's Long Island Shelter was closed down in 2014
by Boston Mayor Walsh, giving no alternative to provide
vital social services and shelter for many of Boston's
homeless. There was a rally today organized by
The Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee to demand
the shelter be re-opened. About 100 people attended.
Click on image for a larger version

LIS Boston rally 8-22-16 (1).jpg
video:
https://youtu.be/KiyTtvkHyYY

photos:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/protestphotos1/albums/72157671855195982/wi/

Boston City Hall-Aug. 22, 2016:
Boston's Long Island Shelter was closed down in 2014
by Boston Mayor Walsh, giving no alternative to provide
vital social services and shelter for many of Boston's
homeless. There was a rally today organized by
The Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee to demand
the shelter be re-opened. About 100 people attended.

From the event facebook page:
Since 1885 when it was purchased by the City of Boston, Long Island has been used for the purpose of human services, health and healing for the people of Greater Boston. However, on October 8, 2014 these services came to a screeching halt when Mayor Walsh closed the bridge leading to Long Island, providing only four hours notice for evacuation to both the service providers and the nearly 1,000 temporary residents receiving services on the Island.

The evacuation included the forced abandonment of the Serving Ourselves farm. The farm, a program of the Boston Public Health Commission, employed people experiencing homelessness and provided fresh organic produce for meals at the city’s shelters. In addition to having full-time employment for 6-8 months, the program participants were provided temporary housing stability in contract shelter beds and were able to shift their priorities to a space where they were looking for more permanent housing and employment. The farm also provided them time in a healing environment outside the shelter. Farm staff evacuated the island unsure of the future of the farm, or the program’s participants. Although they were told the closure would be temporary, and the farm would reopen in the spring of 2015 either on Long Island or at another location in Boston, the Serving Ourselves farm has yet to be allowed to yield another crop to benefit people experiencing homelessness in Boston.

However, this summer Mayor Walsh handed over the farm, which is public land, to the B.Good fast food chain for two years of private use, rent free, without any sort of transparent or public process. Although B.Good has formed a partnership with Camp Harborview and pledges to donate 75% of their crop to “the community”, this does not replace the lost vital benefits the Serving Ourselves farm had provided people experiencing homelessness.

Since then, it has been reported that the city has spent nearly $5.5million maintaining the Island since it was evacuated and The Boston Municipal Research Bureau has called on the city to come up with a plan for the island, which Walsh hasn’t confirmed doesn’t currently exist. Meanwhile, the Serving Ourselves farm and some of the substance abuse recovery programs have yet to reopen. A solution to this senseless spending of taxpayer money and human suffering is to reopen Long Island and continue its legacy as a place of human services, health and healing for the people of Greater Boston. People experiencing homelessness are suffering in shelters and on the streets, and need health and vocational programs such as Serving Ourselves to move forward. Residents in active addiction have nowhere to turn for treatment and pace down “methadone mile” and the number of opioid related deaths continues to rise Mayor Walsh, “the recovery mayor”, who has referred to Long Island as the “social services island”, should take prompt action to return these vital health and healing human services programs to Long Island utilizing a ferry for transport to and from the island, as Camp Harbor View and B.Good have done, along with emergency aid from the city’s emergency response boats.

Join us for a rally and speak out to demand:
-Reopening of health and healing human services programs on Long Island including the Serving Ourselves farm and recovery programs
-The City reduce their contract with B.Good’s Hannah Farm from two years to one, ending the contract at the end of this growing season thus eliminating any private use of Long Island.
-The city develop an articulated plan for the future of Long Island by the end of 2016 that is developed through a transparent process, including meaningful community engagement and input, and keeps in the mission of Long Island’s 131 year tradition of providing health and healing human services.

4pm- Informal Speakers & Conversation
5pm- Formal Speakers, Chants & Conversation about meaningful solutions to the problems caused and exacerbated by the closure of Long Island

Food will be provided.
Join us! Questions, contact massbhsc (at) gmail.com
Twitter:
#TAKEBACKLI
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/bostonhomelesssolidaritycommittee
Click on image for a larger version

LIS Boston rally 8-22-16 (3).jpg
Click on image for a larger version

LIS Boston rally 8-22-16 (4).jpg
Click on image for a larger version

LIS Boston rally 8-22-16 (2).jpg
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