The state next month will set up a "temporary cottage community" on the grounds of Shattuck Hospital in Franklin Park to house and care for up to 30 people who now live - or try to live - in tents along Methadone Mile, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders said today.
In e-mail to advocates, Sudders said the state is buying "18 private lockable sleeping cabins, each with one or two beds, personal climate control and storage for possessions" from a company called Pallet - which says the units can be set up in as little as an hour. And:
The state will also contract with a local health and human service provider to provide immediate onsite services, such as meals, laundry, case management and mental health and addiction services, with the goal of supporting residents in their transition from the streets to permanent housing and longer-term stability. The provider will also be responsible for general oversight of the community, including 24/7 security, as the safety of the residents as well as hospital staff, patients and the surrounding neighborhoods is paramount. The housing is expected to be operational in December.
The Temporary Cottage Community, although temporary, represents the first phase of implementation of the longer-term plans for supportive housing and services envisioned on the campus.
Under current plans, the state says it will move all current in-patient medical and psychiatric programs at Shattuck to a building on the Boston Medical Center campus and then lease the Shattuck grounds for creation of "supportive housing" and public- and behavioral health programs.
The plans are opposed by park and open-space advocates, who say the 13-acre site should be re-integrated with the rest of Franklin Park as parkland. They have suggested the state focus its attention on the former MBTA headquarters at nearby Arborway bus yard for social services.