CAMH Hosts Q&A About Homeless Housing Project

The Community Alliance of Mission Hill (CAMH) met on Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 16. On the agenda was a discussion about the homeless housing project and a report on problem properties. Around 55 people attended the meeting.

Transitional Housing Project

Dr. Melinda Giovengo, Chief Program Officer of Victory Programs, addressed community concerns regarding the organization’s transitional housing project at enVision Hotel at 81 S. Huntington Ave.

Officials from various City departments also attended, including Sheila Dillion (Chief of Housing), Jennifer Tracey (Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services), and Cpt. James Gaughan (Commander, Police District E-13).

As the Gazette previously reported, Victory Programs temporarily houses 41 homeless individuals from Mass@Cass at enVision Hotel. In addition to more permanent housing, guests receive case management and support services for the myriad issues contributing to chronic homelessness.

At the February meeting, Victory Programs announced that it is increasing its security detail from a few hours a day to around the clock. Additionally, multiple City departments will be collaborating daily to monitor any local increase in drug and crime activity.

Meeting attendees were broadly supportive of the program but believed that stricter protocols were needed to deal with the drug-addicted population. Some members expressed a concern that the neighborhood was becoming less safe and cited an increase in public intoxication and theft that coincided with the program.

As a response, members suggested increasing police patrols in the area, as well as street-level social workers and public health officials. They also indicated that Victory Programs could do more on their end.

The Q&A went overtime, with residents feeling they still had unanswered questions. Dr. Giovengo can respond to inquiries. She can be reached at [email protected]. Copy all emails to [email protected].

Problem Properties

Dave Greenup emailed us his updates on the progress of the CAMH Working Group, which meets regularly to address quality-of-life concerns in Mission Hill.

Since the previous CAMH meeting, the group contacted the Boston Police Dept. regarding transparency in data reporting. It also reached out to Northeastern University Student Affairs about its off-campus code of conduct.

The Working Group can now fine absentee landlords $300 per day for lack of rental registration. So far, $8,000 has been collected in revenue from tickets issued by the group.

Current problem properties have 1,148 unpaid tickets totaling over $46,000. The property owing the most in tickets ($3,000) is 36 Cherokee St. The property with the largest amount of tickets issued (70) is 27 Parker Hill Ave.

The Working Group also identified a problem property at 40 Pontiac St. where graffiti appeared to spell out the Greek letters for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Group members are conducting research into pro-bono lawyers, the ability of residents to sue their owner, the process for a former resident to drop their residential exemption, and university off-campus codes of conduct.

Residents who want to participate in the CAMH Working Group should email [email protected].

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