One week after a group of South End neighborhood leaders agreed upon and submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Pine Street Inn about conduct and protections at the Roundhouse Hotel – now a homeless shelter – Pine Street said they are looking to be more inclusive and sign a document with all neighbors.
The South End MOU has been in the works for some time with members of the Mass/Cass 2.0 Task Force, neighborhood association leaders, business leaders in the neighborhood and other interested parties. It was released late last week, and came in response to an MOU that was signed with Newmarket Business Association last month. The MOU addresses expectations and concerns of residents and businesses in the South End regarding the sudden lease of the Roundhouse Hotel at the nexus of Mass/Cass last month to be used as a homeless shelter by Pine Street for at least one year.
On Monday, Pine Street said they had been meeting with community leaders from the South End and other neighborhoods nearby, and would prefer to sign one MOU for all the neighborhoods.
“Last week we met with representatives of the Newmarket, Roxbury and South End communities,” said a Pine Street spokesperson. “Steve Fox, David Stone, and George Stergios, were at that meeting. As you know, this program is located in Rep. Liz Miranda’s Roxbury district and she wanted another opportunity for Pine Street to have a broader discussion with that community. We all agreed that such a discussion should and would occur and after that, Pine Street Inn would assemble the feedback from all three communities and come up with a plan that would best accommodate all our neighbors.”
The South End specific MOU addresses topics like Trash and Needle Clean Up, putting in a needle disposal kiosk, security expectations, staffing commitments, curfews, visitor policies, shuttle service, neighborhood outreach, and support for the Comfort Stations run by the City at the Woods Mullen Shelter parking lot.
One of the sticking points, some said, was specific language about statistics on placements from the hotel to permanent supportive housing, and also the length of the lease being only one year.
“Pine Street Inn hereby agrees to not execute a new lease for 891 Massachusetts Avenue following expiration and pledges that no negotiation for that space or any other South End or Mass and Cass will be conducted without notification to the city and the South End Forum,” read the MOU to that point. “We wish to state in the strongest terms possible the long and well established opposition of the South End residential and business community to any new facility or service in the Mass and Cass geography. PSI should know that there is unqualified opposition to any plan to create any new facility or service designed to meet any social, treatment, housing, shelter, support, or administrative function of PSI or any other provider at the Best Western or any other Mass and Cass site.”
The MOU circulated through the neighborhood for weeks, but was to be signed by Steve Fox of the South End Forum, and Lyndia Downey of Pine Street Inn.