Letter: Local couple still needs shelter

April 27, 2023

It was nice to see a picture of elected officials, Simon Cataldo and Mike Barrett looking warm, comfortable and happy as they posed for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Best Western Shelter.

While these politicians pose for the camera, and MOC ensures that the carefully curated guests at the BWS are housed, there remain real people who are suffering continuing homelessness.

When my friend from Acton came to me in early April to tell me that she and her partner were newly homeless, I immediately drove to the Best Western Shelter to inquire about help. I was told “no” as they are assigned their clientele by the State.

I made call after call trying to find shelter for them. All were closed, full or did not return calls. It was still cold at night, and I couldn’t have them sleeping in their car, so I put them up in a hotel for several days. This was an unsustainable situation, but something had to be done.

After a week, I reached out to Cataldo by e-mail and was pleasantly surprised that he responded immediately to let me know that one of his staff will refer the case to DHCD. I was pleasantly surprised to see that government can be helpful and responsive. I looked forward to submitting a letter to The Bridge to publicly thank him for his service once these people were properly housed (assuming it would be one or two days).

Unfortunately, it has been over two weeks since my first contact with Cataldo and my friends are now sleeping in their car. It is a bit warmer at night than when this nightmare began, but it is still uncomfortable and unsafe for them. 

I am no longer surprised at the “helpfulness” of government.

Michael J Benn
Old Marlboro Rd