I am writing in support of the development of the Shattuck campus as supportive housing and services. I am a 12-year resident of Forest Hills and remember well the number of unhoused people camped under the Casey Overpass.
Three years ago I lost my eldest son to an overdose. For many years he received treatment at the Shattuck Hospital and attended support groups there. With the current epidemic of heroin addiction and the large number of people with dual diagnoses I am strongly in favor of continuing to provide these desperately needed services in my neighborhood.
My relationship with the Shattuck goes beyond my son. For the past two decades a small group of people from my church would sing Christmas carols for the many very ill patients as they lay in their beds.
Additionally, I spent two years as a preschool teacher at the Shattuck Child Care Center when it was located in the personnel building.
I understand and empathize with the desire of many people to return the campus to the park. The Emerald Necklace is truly a jewel and those of us in Jamaica Plain are fortunate to have so much green space to enjoy.
However, we are in a crisis and the mental health system is sorely lacking. For these reasons I believe the need for housing and services for our most vulnerable and needy citizens is greater than the need for additional green space. Well thought out construction could integrate the buildings into the park. My hope is that all construction will be green and sustainable, with little to no reliance on fossil fuels once completed.