We Need More Than Words to Fix Boston’s Problems

Last week I went to a Boston City Council meeting where Annissa Essaibi-George presented a resolution to double-down on the council’s efforts to address hunger and homelessness. It’s a nice gesture, and I believe the councilor’s heart is in the right place. Some may see it, though, as a photo-op. Others may be even more critical, and honestly I too wondered if a resolution would make a difference. Does it actually mean anything?

I thought about this as I walked toward North Station after the presentation and watched the construction of some sort of building called “the Hub on Causeway,” which will include a supermarket, movie theater, office space, parking garage and a 38 story building for residents. But you can bet there’s no-low income housing tied up in all of that. Oh, they will say that it is, just so they can save face. They may even throw in a housing lottery and say, “see we’re helping the community.”

It’s like that all around the city if you look; construction all over, pristine buildings going up all the time. But very little new housing for the homeless. Oh, they’ll say there is, they have to. Gotta keep that job approval rating up somehow.

Maybe what we need to go along with this resolution is a revolution until we house every man, woman, and child. No more large building projects like  the one I just mentioned at North Station. Enough with the high rises that seem to be going up pretty frequently. Enough with the gentrification of neighborhoods of color so fat-cats who don’t even live in the city can buy up land and build  luxury condos for billionaires who don’t even live in the country, never mind the city. That is the resolution we should have and it’s one that should be enforced.

If one is determined to truly address hunger and homelessness then you should back it up. It can’t just be words on a piece of paper, there has to be more. You gotta, as we say, “Walk the Talk.” Put action to those words, force the powers that be to focus on those less fortunate, build real affordable housing, stop gentrification, address the needs of those that are addicted to drugs with real solutions. Reopen Long Island shelter, not just as a recovery campus, but a housing community. Those things need to be done, or a resolution is just words.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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