Shelters Not Always an Option for Homeless in Fenway

A tribute to Melvin Ramos, a homeless man who recently died, slept on this stoop in Kenmore Square
Written by Sarah McCullough

Sarah McCullough
BU News Service

Melvin Ramos was one of many faces seen in the Fenway area on a daily basis. Tucked between the walls of the West Gate abandoned apartment building in Kenmore Square, Ramos would sit on the stoop wrapped in a tattered blanket.

After he died in October, the people who knew him organized a memorial of candles, flowers and posters on the stairs of his old spot.

Ramos, well-known in the area,  was only one of hundreds who spent most cold winter nights curled up on the street.

According to Boston’s 35th Annual Homeless Census conducted in February of this year, there were 7,663 homeless men, women and children in the city, a 5.6 percent increase from the year prior.

Jake, who didn’t want his last name used, is a homeless man who sleeps on Commonwealth Avenue. He said he avoids shelters to keep his belongings safe.

Jake has had backpacks stolen from him multiple times while he was sleeping, and once had to walk out of the shelter barefoot because someone took his shoes.

For those who do seek shelter, Woods Mullens Shelter located on Massachusetts Ave., is a 39 minute walk from Fenway. The Pine Street Inn, located on Tremont Street, is approximately a 36 minute walk.

“I definitely do see a lot of the homeless that would need more help,” Jim Callahan, who works in the Fenway area. “If somebody asks me for food, I’d be more apt to help somebody get something to eat rather than give somebody cash, just so I know that my money is going to a good place and helping them survive.”

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