Dorchester Reporter | By Bill Forry
September 28, 2016
A proposal to build a housing complex at 123 Hamilton St. for formerly homeless people run by the Pine Street Inn came under scrutiny from neighbors at a city-led meeting on Tuesday night. The plan would raze a long-vacant warehouse, widely viewed as an eyesore on the mainly residential street, and create 52 units of living space for men and women over 55 years of age.
The Pine Street Inn says that the facility would be staffed at all times with social workers and managers from their agency and will meet a growing need to serve elders who are “aging in place” in other Pine Street-run properties.
The three-story building would be built and owned by Trinity Green, a private firm that also converted the former St. Peter’s convent building on Bowdoin Street— where Tuesday’s meeting was held. The complex at 307 Bowdoin Street is also owned by Trinity Green and leased to Pine Street Inn, which houses 32 people there. The building was repeatedly cited on Tuesday as a model for improving the neighborhood without disruption.
Indeed, even several neighbors who spoke against the 123 Hamilton proposal, citing concerns about overburdening the Bowdoin Street section of the city with too much low-income housing or people with addiction problems, heaped praise on Pine Street for their well-managed properties.
“We respect Pine Street Inn, “ said Carlos Castillo, a realtor who lives on Hamilton Street. “But we feel like we are being sandwiched in with all these Pine Street projects. It’s just not good.”
Castillo’s critique was echoed by at least five other residents who rose to express opposition to the proposal. Their concerns ranged from worries that the formerly homeless population would bring more poor people to an already poor neighborhood to those who suggested that the builders— who do not live in the city— might realize too much profit from the deal.