1 City Hall Square
Please join us at a City Council hearing on the imminent closure of the two transitional recovery programs, Project SOAR and Safe Harbor, at Southhampton Shelter that support community members experiencing homelessness.
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is choosing to shutter these programs, Project SOAR; for people in early recovery from substance use disorders; and Safe Harbor; for people who are HIV+ which have a combined 40 beds, following an $800,000 cut in funding for transitional housing from HUD and will be converting them into emergency shelter beds. This means shelter guests who are HIV+ or in recovery will no longer have the option of staying in a sober environment with a contract bed, dedicated case management and support to meet their healthcare needs while they work to attain permanent housing. The BPHC has stated they will be rapidly rehousing those 40 individuals currently enrolled and be substituting these two programs with rapid rehousing services. However, rapid rehousing is not supportive permanent housing, which brings up concerns about having healthcare needs met and recidivism. Additionally, there certainly isn’t enough available affordable housing stock to “rapidly rehouse” individuals without them spending at least some substantial time spent in shelter, where without these programs their healthcare and recovery needs will not be met.
These closures are happening during a public health crisis and have the potential to only contribute to worsening this crisis. Unintentional opioid overdose is the leading cause of death for people experiencing homelessness and takes the lives of six people per day in MA. There are over 300 people living with HIV who are experiencing homelessness in Boston.
We look forward to listening to the testimony of those affected, those who support them, and sharing our own thoughts, concerns and questions with the Councilors and the Boston Public Health Commission. Please join us and share widely! If you’d like to testify during the public comment section you may sign up when entering the Ianella Chamber. We want to hear from you! Let us know if you plan to testify by sending us a facebook message or email ([email protected]).