Resident expresses disappointment with Board of Health
To the editor,
The Board of Health stated they did not want to start the new year by ejecting people out of these motels in the pit of winter. It then seems that the Board would not be bothered by kicking out these unfortunate people in the light and temperate times of summer. The logic of their point of view escapes me. Do not these people who constitute this committee realize that winter will come again?
I also wonder how these people intend to enforce this arbitrary 21-day limit on the length of stay in these motels. Conceivably, the tenants would leave for one day and then come back the next day and renew their 21-day stay. Or would the Board impose restrictions on how long these people would have to stay away from these motels?
Assuming that there are several motels that have arrangements with the state to house these poor people, how would the Board keep these people from going down the street to another motel the next day? Is Mr. Ethier going to keep tabs of the comings and goings of these otherwise homeless souls? I think not. Perhaps the Board would simply make this the responsibility of the motel operators. In this case, I would suppose the Board would review the reports of the motel operators on a daily basis so that nobody could stay for more than than their 21-day limit and also make sure that these lodgers may not somehow attempt to cheat the system and stay at the place down the road the next day. Assuming a family was caught overstaying the allotted time, would the Board have the authority to impose fines on these establishments? The point I am attempting to make here is that this would be a clerical nightmare and for the cruel aim of keeping people OUT of shelter. Are the Board members of a mind that people and families would be better off living in the streets? Does this proposal promote the health of its citizens? Yes, even people who live in these motels are citizens of this town and as such should be accorded some modicum of consideration and respect if not compassion.
Selectman Whiteside stated she was appalled that people lived in a place without a kitchen and I would agree that this is a sad state of affairs for a family. But does Ms. Whiteside think that living in an accommodation without a kitchen is worse than no accommodation at all? According to Ms. Whiteside passage of this regulation would give notice to these motel operators to "fish or cut bait" with regard to improving the conditions of these lodgings. Ms. Whiteside's attitude strikes me as both thoughtless and imperious. Is Selectman Whiteside knowledgeable of the financial operations of these motels? If the operators decide to "cut bait" as she states, meaning to go out of business, where will these people live? According to Mr. Ethier, these people would simply go to Brockton or Hyannis, where accommodations for the homeless are presumably ample. I can guarantee Mr. Ethier this is not the case in those communities either. Short of that maybe the Board would be satisfied with displacing these people and families to where the homeless live in this town, namely behind the Home Depot or behind the site of the old Wal-Mart. So much for compassion.
Here's an idea for the Board to consider. Maybe the members could offer to work with the motel operators to improve conditions of their rooms in the spirit of help from the community and cooperation as opposed to coercion. I would be happy to volunteer in this effort.