October 7th: Long Island Closure Anniversary Action! Join Us!

14289966_513102792229665_7613763289579713288_o.jpgPlease join us on Friday, October 7th, to acknowledge the ongoing harm and hardship caused by the closure of Long Island on the lives of those individuals who were impacted AND demand swift action from the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts.

9:00AM Rally & Speak Out at Recovery Road at the corner of Melnea Cass Blvd. & Mass Ave.

Food will be provided during this rally, followed by:

12:00PM Rally & Speak Out at the State House steps

The days speakers include:
People who are currently experiencing or have experienced homelessness or are in or seeking recovery services and have been negatively impacted by the closure of Long Island; Dr. Jessie Gaeta of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, representatives from Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, ACT UP, Long Island Refugees, and more.

Following speakers we invite folks to take part in a family-friendly, nonviolent action to impress upon Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders the need for MORE treatment beds and harm reduction services NOW!

Demands:
-Housing NOT Warehousing!

-Increase Treatment Beds NOW!

-Increase Harm Reduction Services NOW!

Saturday, Sept 24th: Boston Student Health Activist Summit

14333777_863641610432695_6382319670311940394_nThe annual Student Activism Summit returns September 24th to the BU School of Medicine. Hosted by Boston Student Health Activist Community (BSHAC), students and young professionals from across Boston will gather to discuss important social justice issues that impact the health of our communities and learn ways they can integrate that work into professional and civic life.

 

 

Saturday at 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM                                                                                                                                             Boston University School of Medicine                                                                                                                             72 E Concord St, Boston, Massachusetts 02118

It is FREE and OPEN to the public. Please RSVP at:

https://docs.google.com/a/bu.edu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfACd-nZAzsbXV0NLtbaD8be1B-WEDCdZ67I8pIvTEts0FHUA/viewform

or

https://www.facebook.com/events/1731801350414328/

Hey Harvard! Pay Up! The Homeless Need Housing!

12061, #8,  Seal of Harvard University, VERITAS

Meet your obligations Harvard, the city needs the money, the homeless  need housing. 

Having recently raised $7 BILLION, Harvard University’s endowment is now approaching $40 BILLION! That’s a lot of excess moola for a non profit organization to have on hand (Question: is Harvard a school or a hedge fund?). Despite Harvard’s mind blowing wealth, it has not payed $2.6 million that it owes to Boston through the city’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, or PILOT program.

Boston set PILOT up in 2012. It asks the city’s numerous tax exempt, land owning hospitals and colleges (the Meds and Eds), as well as its arts institutions, to voluntarily contribute to pay for city services that they would get tax free. This year, of 19 Eds the city asked to pony up for PILOT, 14 paid far less than the city requested. This despite the fact that, unlike taxable city properties, PILOT program members need only contribute a fraction of the value of their extensive holdings. But cheapskate Harvard and those 14 other schools won’t even do that!

Boston’s colleges and their multitudes of off campus students have contributed to the city’s homelessness problems for decades. Instead of building needed dorms many Eds have “landbanked” their open space for later use, or they put up academic buildings. So they enroll tens of thousands of students who are not provided housing. Boston’s low income residents must then compete with students for housing. It is no wonder that inexpensive SRO units and rooming houses, the last stopgaps for many from homelessness, no longer exist in Boston’s neighborhoods. Those that you can still call neighborhoods that is. The East Fens, Audubon Circle, Bay State Rd., Clearway St., etc., once consisted of private, taxable, homes and apartments. Now most are just tax free, campus extensions of N.U., B.U., H.U. and so on.

city-council-letter-completeLast Spring, nine Boston City Councilors strongly endorsed our coalition groups proposal for a $5 million city funded housing voucher program to house 400 homeless Bostonians. The Council appealed to the Mayor for the voucher program calling the need “overwhelmingly evident” and that “for many families and individuals in Boston, the pressing need for affordable housing can not wait.”

Paraphrasing in part here, the Council added:

  •  there are 38,000 people on the Boston Housing Authority’s waitlist and almost 4,000 homeless Students in Boston Public Schools, so the City needs creative solutions.
  • as the federal government retreats from its responsibilities, Boston needs to step up for its own.
  • the Mayor should move with urgency to establish the voucher program on a sustainable, recurring basis.

In June, our groups met with Mayor Walsh on the plan. His concern? The city lacks the money. Yet, If Megabucks Harvard paid the $2.6 million it owes this year to the PILOT program that revenue could fund half of the housing voucher program! That is housing for 200 homeless! If all the college scofflaws ponied up the $12 million they owe this year, plus the million still owed by the city’s medical and arts institutions, that could fund vouchers for about THOUSAND of the city’s homeless!

Boston needs the PILOT program revenue! Its homeless desperately need housing! 

Contact the Mayor and ask him to implement the voucher program! Contact Harvard to tell them it’s time to pay up! 

Treat Lipodystrophy Bill Needs Your Support Now!

For many who have suffered the ravages of HIV/AIDS, lipodystrophy is a disfiguring side effect of earlier HIV medications that can leave physical signs of disease like gaunt looking faces, large bellies, and fat humps on the upper back. This leads to additional stigma for those affected. The Treat Lipodystrophy Coalition is working to get health insurance pay for lipodystrophy treatment. Kevin Koerner who works at the Boston Living Center, along with people from GLAD and other agencies have been pushing to get a bill passed thru the MA state legislature that would mandate private and public health insurers pay for Lipodystrophy treatment.

Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, whose district includes the South End, Downtown and the North End of Boston, is the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services where the bill now sits. Call or email Rep. Michlewitz and let him know that this bill is important: urge him to move to pass this bill this session! The JPG below is all the info you need to make your voice heard. You can view the bill at www.GLAD.org/TLC.
Contact Michelwitz re Lipo bill-page-001

 

 

The Longest Night: Speak Out, Holiday “Carols”, Candlelight Vigil for The Homeless, Monday, Dec 21st.

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The Longest Night for far too many. 

For many the winter solstice is a welcome sign of holiday celebrations to come. But for the homeless, it means 14 hours, 53 minutes, and 43 seconds of darkness — the longest night of the year and a reminder of the long, cold Winter yet to come.

There are over 7,000 homeless people in the Boston area who will have to endure another Winter. Join the Housing Justice Coalition in our efforts to  change all that while we remember those who live and often die on our streets. Come to Boston City Hall Plaza on Monday, Decembvigiler 21, at 4:15 pm for a speak out and candlelight vigil for those without a home for the holidays. We will also be singing some special holiday carols to convey to the City of Boston our demands for housing for the homeless NOW! 

Monday, Dec 21st: Annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service

Join ACT UP, faith leaders, the homeless, outreach workers, service providers and community leaders for the 26th Annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial Service.

Dec, 21st at Noon
Church on the Hill
140 Bowdoin St, Boston

There will be a luncheon following at 1 PM.

Afterward, join us at City Hall to pressure the city for housing solutions to end homelessness, followed by a Speak Out and Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless on City Hall Plaza at 4:15.