Shelter for Street People Must Find New Site Soon
Sanctuary, a Cambridge group which provides shelter and counseling for Cambridge street people, must find a new site for its hostel soon.
The organization, founded last Spring, rented the Iroquois Club on Mt. Auburn St. for the summer and used it as a hostel where transients could crash free. The group also opened a storefront at 9 Mt. Auburn St. where it operated a medical, legal, and psychiatric referral service, a drug counseling service, and a telephone switchboard for people seeking help.
With the opening of school, however, the Iroquois reclaimed its building, and transients and runaways began coming to the storefront seeking a place to sleep.
[An article by Judy Smith, who works at the Sanctuary storefront, appears on page two.]
Cambridge policemen complained to the City Health Department because the practice violated a city ordinance, and, at a meeting of Sanctuary personnel, Health Department officials, and police Thursday, Sanctuary was told that the crashers would have to move out soon.
"There's a real potential for catastrophe in there," Dr. James Beck, chief of the Community Psychiatry Service at Cambridge City Hospital and one of those present at the meeting, said yesterday.
"We think that the people in Sanctuary are responsible people and are performing a valuable service," he said. "We were anxious to give them some time to find another place-but after a responsible period of time we're going to have to tell them to stop sleeping people in there," he added.
Another such meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19, when Sanctuary will be asked what progress it has made toward finding a new site for a hostel.
"At the moment we don't have any in-hand prospects," David Bynum, one of the co-directors of Sanctuary, said yesterday. "We've gotten a lot of offers of help in finding one, but no solid leads."
"Financially, we just can't afford to pay an enormous rent," Bynum added. "Ideally, we would like to find a house owned by the University which was unoccupied and was slated to be torn down-some kind of residential thing,"
"We don't want to crash people at the storefront either because it really interferes with our counseling work. On the other hand, we can't just not put them up at all," he said. "If you're having a really heavy discussion with a kid you can't just bounce him in the street."