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Life on Boston’s streets during the pandemic

A homeless couple used wheelchairs to carry their belongings on Massachusetts Ave, in an area known as “Methadone Mile,” in Boston on Sept. 9.
A homeless couple used wheelchairs to carry their belongings on Massachusetts Ave, in an area known as “Methadone Mile,” in Boston on Sept. 9.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The area known as Methadone Mile, the corridor around Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard at the edge of Roxbury and the South End, has deteriorated over the past few months. Services are closed, and the homeless and those suffering from addiction have crowded the area. Globe photographer Craig F. Walker captured the scenes and the thoughts of individuals on this corner during the coronavirus pandemic.

A man sat outside a “comfort station,” an outdoor area run by the Boston Public Health Commission where people who are homeless can spend time.
A man sat outside a “comfort station,” an outdoor area run by the Boston Public Health Commission where people who are homeless can spend time.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


 A man collected discarded needles while Shawn Doucette (left) and Stephen Smith (right) sat in a courtyard on Albany Street earlier this month. Both men are homeless: Doucette for seven years, and Smith for a year. Smith said, "I went from having two jobs and a car, I had all that. Now I have this."
A man collected discarded needles while Shawn Doucette (left) and Stephen Smith (right) sat in a courtyard on Albany Street earlier this month. Both men are homeless: Doucette for seven years, and Smith for a year. Smith said, "I went from having two jobs and a car, I had all that. Now I have this." Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Chris Deoliveira stood in a parking lot across the street from the former Best Western hotel. This summer, the Pine Street Inn leased the building, bringing 180 additional homeless people into the area. Deoliveira lives on the street and said he's been homeless for eight years and has been in this area for the last two. He said his opioid addiction started 20 years ago with Percocet. He said he's not concerned about COVID-19, "I don't have too many years ahead of me anyway,” he said. “I'm schizophrenic. The voices are always telling me to kill myself."
Chris Deoliveira stood in a parking lot across the street from the former Best Western hotel. This summer, the Pine Street Inn leased the building, bringing 180 additional homeless people into the area. Deoliveira lives on the street and said he's been homeless for eight years and has been in this area for the last two. He said his opioid addiction started 20 years ago with Percocet. He said he's not concerned about COVID-19, "I don't have too many years ahead of me anyway,” he said. “I'm schizophrenic. The voices are always telling me to kill myself."Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Anna Hegenberger took in the scene outside a comfort station run by the Boston Public Health Commission on Massachusetts Avenue. Hegenberger has been homeless for 10 years but said that is not her identity. "I'm a mother, I'm a daughter, I'm a friend, and I'm a widow," she said. She spoke highly of the community of homeless people. "They're the kindest people. You know who gives me money? The homeless people down here," she said.
Anna Hegenberger took in the scene outside a comfort station run by the Boston Public Health Commission on Massachusetts Avenue. Hegenberger has been homeless for 10 years but said that is not her identity. "I'm a mother, I'm a daughter, I'm a friend, and I'm a widow," she said. She spoke highly of the community of homeless people. "They're the kindest people. You know who gives me money? The homeless people down here," she said.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


A man exchanged words with officers in a parking lot on Massachusetts Avenue.
A man exchanged words with officers in a parking lot on Massachusetts Avenue.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Michael Franks, 39, greeted Rebekah Manuel, 23, on Mass. Ave. Both are homeless. Franks said he has been homeless for two years and addicted to heroin. "I'm at my wits end. I can't live like this anymore. 'Nine to five' for me is crazy," he said.
Michael Franks, 39, greeted Rebekah Manuel, 23, on Mass. Ave. Both are homeless. Franks said he has been homeless for two years and addicted to heroin. "I'm at my wits end. I can't live like this anymore. 'Nine to five' for me is crazy," he said. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Malik Calderon Jr. cleaned the sidewalk outside a comfort station as it closed for the day. Calderon is homeless and appreciates the station. "This place saves lives, they have good resources and a good staff. They got me in the methadone clinic. We get support here. This is a community," he said.
Malik Calderon Jr. cleaned the sidewalk outside a comfort station as it closed for the day. Calderon is homeless and appreciates the station. "This place saves lives, they have good resources and a good staff. They got me in the methadone clinic. We get support here. This is a community," he said.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Wayne Garfield, who wore a lock and chain around his neck, said he has been homeless for two years.
Wayne Garfield, who wore a lock and chain around his neck, said he has been homeless for two years.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe


Guibert Tercino handed out boxes of food outside a comfort station run by the Boston Public Health Commission on Massachusetts Avenue.
Guibert Tercino handed out boxes of food outside a comfort station run by the Boston Public Health Commission on Massachusetts Avenue.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


A man rested in a wheelchair outside a comfort station on Massachusetts Avenue.
A man rested in a wheelchair outside a comfort station on Massachusetts Avenue.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Stephen Smith held a needle in his teeth while sitting in a courtyard on Albany Street.
Stephen Smith held a needle in his teeth while sitting in a courtyard on Albany Street.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Edgar Sanchez (left) greeted Chris Deoliveira in a parking lot on Southampton Street.
Edgar Sanchez (left) greeted Chris Deoliveira in a parking lot on Southampton Street.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Rebekah Manuel, 23, talked about her scars. Manuel said she has been homeless for three years and addicted to heroin. She said she was lit on fire after being drugged, raped, and robbed in February.
Rebekah Manuel, 23, talked about her scars. Manuel said she has been homeless for three years and addicted to heroin. She said she was lit on fire after being drugged, raped, and robbed in February. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe


A man injected drugs while sitting in a courtyard on Albany Street.
A man injected drugs while sitting in a courtyard on Albany Street.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff


Edgar Sanchez exchanged words with Boston police officers in a parking lot on Mass. Ave. Sanchez said he is homeless and uses heroin. He said of the homeless people in the area, "They're mostly good people. Please don't call us drug addicts, we're actually human beings. I do drugs because the world is messed up."
Edgar Sanchez exchanged words with Boston police officers in a parking lot on Mass. Ave. Sanchez said he is homeless and uses heroin. He said of the homeless people in the area, "They're mostly good people. Please don't call us drug addicts, we're actually human beings. I do drugs because the world is messed up."Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe