Chinatown: Area Shelters Impact Community

There is few homeless people hanging outside the St. Francis House, the largest day shelter in New England, during the daytime.
Written by Xin Fang

Xin Fang
BU News Service

There are two homeless shelters that have a connection to Chinatown. St. Francis House, located at Boylston Street, is the largest day shelter in New England. It serves more than 600 homeless men and women all year. The second, Pine Street Inn, is located at 444 Harrison Avenue.

“Even though the location of Pine Street Inn is not within the Chinatown, homeless people tend to walk around and will come to Chinatown,” Chung-chi Che, a Macanese veteran who has lived in the U.S. since the 1980s, said.

“If I see drunk [homeless] people that occupy the public area, I’ll ask whether they need a shelter,” Che said. “Then I’ll guide them if they are too drunk, and sometimes I do buy some food for them.”

Even though Che has sympathy for the homeless people, he said that many Chinatown residents feel unsafe when they walk along the Boylston Street, especially when residents pass by St. Francis House.

“We can’t ask [homeless] shelters to move out of Chinatown; it’s not fair to these people. They need help as well,” Che said. “However, I think the government should offer more shelters to accommodate homeless people”

However, on the other side of Chinatown at Tremont Street, a group of homeless teenagers are often gathered together outside the McDonald’s.  Justin Peel, a homeless young man who frequents the McDonald’s, said he is sober right now, but it is difficult for him to get a stable job.

“I’ve waited for a room in the Bridge Over Troubled Waters for about six months,” Peel said. Peel, 21, left home when his parents discovered he was using drugs six years ago.

There is few homeless people hanging outside the St. Francis House, the largest day shelter in New England, during the daytime.

The St. Francis House is the largest day shelter in New England.

Justin Peel, 21, sits outside the McDonald's during most of his daytime.

Justin Peel, 21, sits outside the McDonald’s.

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