Some of Our Questions

Below is a list of preliminary questions ahead of Thursday’s meeting. Many of these came directly from responses to our community survey. We absolutely do not intend for these to be the only questions. We can’t speak for everyone. We hope that this release helps Charlestown have a productive discussion and maybe spurs additional questions.

1. How can St. Francis House and the POUA assure us that we won’t see more used needles in public areas, posing a danger to the community?

2. How will St. Francis House and the POUA screen out sex offenders and violent felons, particularly those who committed their crimes outside the state or outside the country?

3. When it comes to applicants with felony records, we previously heard language such as “we look and see what crimes did they commit.” Is there a written policy or list of disqualifying crimes? What is it and why isn’t it public?

4. Suppose a resident harms someone the community, causing demands for an eviction. The eviction would take up to 2 years and cause costs and missed revenue for St Francis House, POUA and the bank financing the project. Will our concerns win over their financial interest?

5. Approximately how many of the Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) residents will be actively using drugs? Previously, during a small group meeting, we heard the figure of around 50%. We saw much higher numbers in the research, but even 50% implies 32 people. How will these people get the drugs they need? Would they travel to buy drugs on a daily basis? Will they use the shuttle van for this purpose? What will disincentivize drug dealers from coming to the neighborhood instead?

6. How will St. Francis House and the POUA measure the success of the project and the well-being of the PSH residents affected by mental illness, addiction and physical disease? What contingency plans will there be if the project is not successful?

7. Previously the Constitution Inn hosted the McLaughlin House which had room for 10 women in recovery. It closed, in part, because of a lack of accessible resources in the neighborhood. How can this project succeed with over ten times as many residents?

8. At the other St Francis and POUA PSH locations, what percentage of drug users get clean and sober after one year of tenancy? What percentage get arrested after one year? What percentage of residents die after one year?

9. The Charlestown Community Fridge is near the site and currently struggling to serve Charlestown families in need. How can we be sure this project doesn’t put more strain on local resources like the Community Fridge?

10. Several supporters told us that Boston is in an “Affordable Housing Crisis.” Can we change the project to be entirely affordable housing, without the PSH?

11. Can a change in St. Francis House management lead to a change in the policy regarding the sex offender screening, violent felon screening, composition of residents or other policies? 

12. Our survey responses, and video recordings of past meetings, seem to indicate that there is overwhelming opposition to the project, and a lack of trust in the proponents. What metrics and considerations are St Francis House and POUA using to move forward?

Page last updated on April 16 2023