By Carol Masshardt

Over two hundred attended a zoom meeting on Friday evening to hear and question the plan for  20-25  families to move into 24 Farnsworth St. Leaders from the collaboration with the Commonwealth of Ma., represented by Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll and her staff,  the United Way, the  Unitarian/Universalist Association (owner of the building), the YMCA of Greater Boston, and the Black Refugee and Immigrant Community Coalition, were joined by elected officials, Mayor Michelle Wu, State Rep. David Biele, City Councilor’s Ed Flynn, and  Ruthzee Louijeune on screen. Lt, Governor Driscoll addressed the need for “overflow shelter” as the state remains committed to offering basic safety and services to families arriving from within and beyond the state, and the current capacity issues.

Far from ideal from any perspective, the plan is an effort to respond to humanitarian and immediate needs of the families. Major specific concerns are listed below. Councilor Flynn emphasized the need for improved and continued community-in-put and communication. He clearly stated his opposition to the plan, but also his availability to the families and constituents of all involved neighborhoods as the plan moves forward.

The Fort Point Neighborhood Association, who represent the immediate neighborhood.   At the conclusion, they posted a message that they are “optimistic” about the plan meeting objectives for the families while “minimizing community impact.”

Following are facts and responses to clusters of questions raised at this meeting:

A family is defined as parent/parents with children or a pregnant woman. Individual adults without homes have other resources through the city and are not included in this target group.

The families have “legal entry” to the US. Work authorization is a separate and complex process that providers will be addressing given the motivation most of the adults have to work and the need to do so.

The agreement is through June 2024, with some extension possible. It is not a longer-term housing solution.

The families will be housed at Farnsworth St. in a floor of 10,000 Square Feet, with six bathrooms and no cooking facilities or showers.

Families will have transportation via vans to the “Y” in either Chinatown or Huntington Ave during the day where they will have meals, activities, showers, and assistance with longer range plans. They will have access to Boston Community Youth and Family Centers on the weekends. The Boston Public Schools are evaluating plans for children to attend.

All adults are screened for background issues, and health status is reviewed with assistance from the Dept. of Public Health to assure vaccinations are up to date.

There is minimal traffic increase expected and vans will be parked on private property.

Security will be present at the address for the well-being of all when families are present.

Trash pick-up will continue to be the responsibility of the building owner and will be modified as needed.

Cots and supplies will be delivered within the week. Meals are not prepared at the site, and additional deliveries will be minimal.


There will be opportunities to make donations and volunteer, and information about this and on-going communication was directed to:,,  Lydia Polaski, the City of Boston, South Boston liaison, is the point person for neighbors and will have additional assistance to respond to needs as they arise. She can be reached at or 617-293-8328. Councilor Flynn will also be attentive to community concerns.


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