Cape officials meet at Statehouse with Lt. Gov. to discuss homelessness – News – capecodtimes.com – Hyannis, MA

A Monday meeting focused on moving NOAH shelter and downtown improvements.

Source: Cape officials meet at Statehouse with Lt. Gov. to discuss homelessness – News – capecodtimes.com – Hyannis, MA

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COMMENTARY

We need the state to weigh the issues and the solutions. Chapter 40B does not provide positive credit when a town tackles these issues. The state policies promote family housing over efficiency units that might be within reach of at least a portion of this population. Other programs discourage the creation of accommodations for those at risk.

It should not solely be about moving the homeless out of Hyannis or shutting down the camps, it needs to be about creating real options. A homeless shelter, where you need to line up early for a bed, or find yourself sleeping on the street, is not a real, or good solution. Secure accommodations are needed. Accommodations that a destitute person can know will be available should they land a day labor position that made it impossible to get in line.

The state spends millions on placing people in hotels at a per night cost that cold pay a months rent in a week. When discussing this issue, the response is that there are no rentals available. But, when these motel rooms are converted to safe, code compliant, efficiency apartments, they are difficult, if not impossible to have counted towards a community’s affordable housing target as they do not provide 2 or 3 bedroom family housing.

Other state programs turn their back on opportunities to avoid homelessness among at risk populations. Essentially preferring no beds to a perceived over-concentration of specific need groups. These policies cast a shadow that the state would prefer these at-risk populations wind up living under a bridge or in a shelter than in an environment among their peers.

Programs like our “A Home For Veterans for Christmas” are easy to embrace.

In Dennis we have also embraced the conversion of the Dennis West Motel into South Cape Apartments and three other”micro-apartment” and “tiny home” conversions before these became trendy. At present we have over fifty legally converted efficiency units.

In Hyannis, they tore down a converted motel that housed, just from those I met, elderly, a divorced firefighter and a variety of local service employees with an office complex. Now, the “solution” to the homeless issue is to redevelop the shelter? Perhaps redevelop it for efficiency rentals, thus providing an improved shelter and real options for those transitioning back to the community from the streets.

Just my two-cents worth.

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