An extremely embarrassing problem has occurred in the North End over the past couple of months. In the attached photo from Friday morning, you can see 3 apparently homeless people sleeping in front of Haymarket MBTA station. Every morning hundreds of commuters like myself have had to step over, walk around or even step on these blanketed people in order to get into the station. Needless to say it is not a very pretty picture of this city, especially to tourists, who must think we’re all heartless and shelterless.
Last week, when I walked by, actually around them, the 3 were sitting up, one was smoking and another apparently homeless person was standing over them and smoking. I banged on the booth inside the station, which 3 MBTA employees were jammed into, and asked if they knew what was going on outside their door.
“Do you mean the homeless sleeping there?” one replied. “Oh, they’ve been doing that for a couple of months,” one said. I asked what they had done about it.
Answer: The homeless van was by to take them to a shelter but they didn’t want to go. The police came and told them to move on, but they didn’t. That’s it. Nothing else. So now 3 homeless people are apparently doing whatever they want, including sleeping wherever they want, inconveniencing people, and the City apparently CANNOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
Here’s what I’m asking the City to do about it. Talk to whoever has jurisdiction; the MBTA Police? Please tell them in no uncertain terms that these trespassing individuals must be removed IMMEDIATELY and they must take all their refuse with them. If they refuse to totally vacate the MBTA property, THEY MUST BE ARRESTED. The area must be patrolled and if they are let out of jail, they must not return or will be held for trial. I personally will press charges.
Here’s what I will do: If I see any individuals lying there or loitering, I will immediately dial 911 and ask police to remove them. I will press charges. I will at the same time call the press.
I know that you cannot force individuals to go to a shelter. But they have no right to trespass on MBTA property, inconveniencing commuters and making our neighborhood and entire city look stupid or worse. If these individuals don’t want to go to a shelter, they have the choice of sleeping where they’re not trespassing or freezing to death! Where they sleep now is not a campground it is a public transportation facility and we weary commuters have enough trouble just trying to squeeze into packed trains. We do not need roadblocks in front of the station.
Thanks very much.
Ed: This commentary was submitted via email as a correspondence to City Hall, specifically City Councilor Sal LaMattina. It has been formatted and edited for clarity to be published here at the request of the author. Opinions are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NorthEndWaterfront.com or other writers on this site. NorthEndWaterfront.com welcomes commentaries on community issues via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments or responses to this commentary can be posted below in the comment section.