The East Boston Community Development Corporation joined forces with Crossroads Family Shelter and the City of Boston to create seven units of subsidized housing on Havre Street for families transitioning out of the neighborhood’s homeless shelter.
At a ribbon cutting Monday afternoon outside the new building at 125 Havre St., Mayor Martin Walsh joined with the CDC, Eastie’s elected officials and Crossroads administrators to celebrate the opening of the new housing opportunity for the areas homeless.
“We are here to talk about seven new affordable units for the homeless and its great way to start off the Holiday Season,” said Walsh. “But it is also a reminder that we have a lot more work to do. As we move families into this new building there are still displaced families living in a church basement (in East Boston). This project address that and gets homeless off the streets.”
However, Walsh said that the city received a lot of criticism when the Long Island Bridge fell into disrepair and was demolished–the only route to the island’s homeless shelter for over 500 people.
“Taking the bridge down forced us to the table to begin talking about Boston’s homeless issue,” said Walsh. “While we opened a brand new shelter our goal can not be to build shelters, it is great for the short term, but the long term solution has to be what we are standing in today. We should be aiming for this type of development here in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth.”
Susan Keliher of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children who have a longstanding partnership for placing homeless at Crossroads told a story of one mother who found her self homeless after an abusive relationship. Keliher said the women’s story was not unlike many stories of mother’s that find themselves homeless but now with Havre Street the family will be able to have a safe place to rest their heads and enjoy the holidays.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who worked as a housing advocate for Crossroads over 30 years ago, said the same conversations he had three decades ago are the same conversations that contiue today.
“Every year I go back to Crossroads and every year I hear the same issues,” said LaMattina. “We have been talking about this for over 30 years but this project is what we suppose to be doing. We are suppose to be building housing for the homeless. You have no idea how much the state spends to house the homeless in shelters and motels. That money could be better spent in projects like this.”
CDC Executive Director Al Ca
ldarelli commented that people in his field always get a little anxious when a new administration comes in because they are not sure of that administration’s goals or intentions. However, Caldarelli praised Walsh for his work on behalf of CDC’s across Boston and projects like Havre Street.
“This mayor knows the communities and knows what needs to be done and how to push for programs that address these needs,” he said