At the corner of grim and desperate: Boston neighborhood grapples with opioid crisis

A homeless man addicted to heroin prepared to shoot up while sitting on Harrison Avenue in the South End.
A homeless man addicted to heroin prepared to shoot up while sitting on Harrison Avenue in the South End.CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF

Portraying homeless people as a nuisance is demeaning

I was appalled by the article “Spread of homeless rattles South End” (Page A1, Aug. 9). The reporting leans heavily toward the concerns of South End residents and how hard it is to have struggling people in their neighborhood. I don’t doubt that. It is hard. But how much harder is life for the people on the streets?

I don’t think anyone ends up homeless, addicted, or dealing drugs without some serious trauma, hardship, or oppression in their life. Now these individuals are being mistreated by the Boston Police Department, and the Globe is portraying them as a nuisance, which is demeaning and dehumanizing.


Elizabeth Saunders


For South End residents, drug dealing and using is in-your-face

Thanks for the article “Spread of homeless rattles South End” and for state Representative Jon Santiago’s op-ed “All hands on deck to clean up a troubled corner” in the same edition. As a South End resident directly across from Boston Medical Center for more than 20 years, I have seen how the charm and character of historic brownstones and brick sidewalks often intersect with the cold and cruel reality of the homeless and drug-addicted. Grab a sticky bun at Flour Bakery on Washington Street, with costly condos above, then take a quick left on East Concord Street and go one city block down to BMC. Today, that two-block jaunt is, sadly, a journey between two unacceptably different worlds.

The economic, racial, and social diversity of the South End has long attracted many of us to live here. We fear not the differences among us. We have compassion, tons of it. But today’s level of in-your-face drug dealing and consuming is intolerable — such as the man and young woman on our stoop last night, rubber bands tight around the upper arm, cooking a tiny foil packet with needles ready, blocking my ability to open the front door.


Glen Berkowitz


Long Island site’s closing displaced the vulnerable

Re “Sweep of homeless district draws fire” (Metro, Aug. 8): There was no longer a place to flush the homeless out of public view along Boston’s sidewalks and thoroughfares, once the shelter and treatment programs on Long Island were closed without warning. It was no island paradise, but it did provide a refuge and respite, before a rusted bridge became an excuse for the chaotic evacuation, and a diaspora of society’s forsaken washed ashore at the confluence of Mass. Ave., Southampton Street, and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

Long Island was never Shangri La. But what city officials accomplished was to displace the vulnerable from limbo and consign them to Dante’s Inferno.

Thomas F. Schiavoni


Lack of affordable housing helps fuel this crisis

Excellent story by your team about how the opioid epidemic is exacerbating issues of homelessness in the South End.

A related element worthy of more exploration: how the lack of sufficient affordable housing is increasing the plight of the homeless.

Imagine being addicted and jobless in Boston and becoming inspired to turn your life around. One look at housing prices would be demoralizing enough to send you back in the other direction. After all, what’s the use, when a place to live is so blatantly unattainable?

This is how Boston property owners and legislators take care of the lesser-privileged in our city: The wealthy keep cashing in, stomping all over their backs, and tell the police they need help doing it.


Did someone say, “Bring back rent control”?

Jared Pendak

Bradford, Vt.