Hyannis Homeless Camps Destroyed

Barnstable police razed several homeless camps in Hyannis Tuesday.

Barnstable police cleaned up several homeless camps including two off Old Colony Road and Yarmouth Road in Hyannis.
Police and Barnstable County inmates began the daylong task at 8:00 a.m.
Lt. David Cameron said tearing the camps down is about protecting the homeless population who lived in tents hidden in the wooded areas.
“The cold weather is upon us now and we are out here trying to motivate these people to seek the kinds of help they need to find shelter for the winter months. They do not belong in the conditions out here. We are trying to do everything we possibly can to avert a tragedy in the woods,” Cameron said.
Cameron said officers notified occupants 10 days prior to the cleanup that the camps would be torn down and any belongings would be disposed of. There were 14 individual campsites targeted.

Taryn Thoman November 28, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Okay, so the story is it's for their own good that every last personal belonging is being disposed of, including their only source of shelter. Where's the rest of the story? Does anyone know or care what happens next?
Tim November 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Do you have a proposal?
RON BEATY November 28, 2012 at 02:30 PM
The following viewpoint was provided to me by a wise acquaintance of mine "...yesterday was the day they razed the homeless camps, which s probably a public safety necessity. But, what is done to balance that action with a positive action to make homes or services more available? The task of doing “good things” or helping is left to the private (non-profit) sector rather than the public sector even though what many non-profits do is really public health and safety. There is no question that drinking, drugging, and mental health issues are the reason for the camps. The town needs to be facilitating the development of additional services in those three areas as they raze the camps. Same thing with housing. The town has CDBG and CPC money to do both these things yet they spent $4m on fixing up the Town Hall from using CPC money. There is a values problem. If this was Cambridge you would see a two sided solution."
Chris November 28, 2012 at 02:33 PM
As far as disposing of these folks "personal belonging" it would be good to mention the amount of abandoned camps you will find if you take walk through the woods in Hyannis and Yarmouth. These unoccupied camps are littered with all manner of left behind possessions. From the amount of debris I have personally seen at some of these abandoned camps I wouldn't say that disposing of "personal belonging" should be a concern. They seem to dispose of them quite readily themselves.
Taryn Thoman November 28, 2012 at 02:33 PM
The town makes the mess and I'm supposed to clean it up? Let's hope they don't crawl into a building and accidentally burn it down like they did with Calvary Baptist Church last year. I propose we figure out how/why we have ten times more homeless people than other towns our size. I propose we set up emergency shelters when the weather drops below a survivable temperature. I propose we demand that our greedy and oppressive town "leaders" get off their asses and stop this problem from growing. If they did an honest review of our homeless situation they'd likely discover that many of our homeless were sent or brought here from other towns. Either we increase services for them or we relocate them. FIFTEEN homeless people died last year in our town. It's epidemic. We have town councilors who claim to care about the problem, yet the problem continues to grow. I propose we get rid of do-nothing talking heads on the town council. In the short term we need to treat this matter as an emergency and create shelter for all the homeless, including the addicts. How about the vacant elementary school in Osterville? Let's turn on the lights and the heat and bus them there for the winter. That ought to bring some noise at the next council meeting!
Chris November 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Just as a point of reference it would be good to consider what some of the founding fathers of this nation had to say. Here's Ben Franklin, “I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
Oonagh November 28, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Is this tough love or just plain callousness?
Chris November 28, 2012 at 02:47 PM
These programs and resources you speak of already are in place in our town. Are they helping? What these people need is individuals who will get out of the rhetoric and theory of it all and actually get down on a personal level and help them by challenging and motivating them to rise above their place in life. Have you ever gone to one of these camps to meet the homeless that you want the town to care for? It amazes me how many people want out tax money to help society fix the issues but don't want to do the dirty work them selves.
Chris November 28, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Taryn. One of the reasons we have so many more homeless than other towns is because of the amount of resources we already have in place. Did you know that the Social services in Boston and Worchester actually send their homeless to our town? because of the resources we have. I think that projects like Homeless not Helpless are what we need, NOT GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT. Look then up at http://www.homelessnothopeless.org/. What they are doing is helping people who want the help but not enabling people who want a handout.
Taryn Thoman November 28, 2012 at 03:05 PM
@Chris - yes, when I noticed homelessness increasing several years ago I was told that officials from other towns, especially Worcester, were buying one-way bus tix to Hyannis for their homeless. Later I heard a rumor that a town councilor named Janice Barton was personally escorting homeless people from Falmouth or other Cape towns to Hyannis. As for Homeless not Helpless or similar non-profits, are they not subsidized by "government involvement"? I'm not saying we should give these people a free house or do everything for them, but where homeless are concerned, Barnstable has blood on its hands. These people should not be dying, especially in such large numbers, in a town of our financial and social wealth. We have town owned buildings that have been vacant for years. Create some emergency zoning regs or whatever needs to be done legally, and try to keep those people alive through the winter. We spent over THREE MILLION dollars on a cosmetic repair to town hall, as previously mentioned. Good example of our town's priorities. We need to get rid of the pigs who are setting these priorities.
Tim November 28, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Keep in mind that the majority of these camp-dwellers have extensive criminal histories, and ongoing criminal involvements, that rightfully prohibit their acceptance at many "shelters". A stagerring number of our local sex offenders list their homes as "Homeless" or "77 Winter St". Who wants to take on that liability? If you need temporary food and shelter, fine. But you darn well be sober, pass routine drug screens, and be on a path toward re-employment and self reliance. We need to put an end to the life-long criminal free loader programs that are on our dime.
Hyannis Housing Advocate November 28, 2012 at 04:50 PM
" We need to put an end to the life-long criminal free loader programs that are on our dime." ...like prisons maybe??? ^_^
Taryn Thoman November 28, 2012 at 05:58 PM
From smartoncrime.org "It costs about $46,000 a year to house just one inmate in MA, 56% more than the national average. In 2010, MA spent $514.2 million on prisons, up from $408.6 million in 2001." In terms of "our dime", it costs us more to imprison so called "freeloaders" than it does to provide basic necessities. If you don't like either of these choices, then just destroy their camps and let them die. It appears that the latter is Barnstable's choice.
alfred e neuman November 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Know matter how you judge it... it could be you out on the street ....how about you in the jungle ....see if you learn to keep your big mouth shut then ...every person should be treated with respect and given a helping hand ....saying don't help criminals sounds real good till the day you need help ....did you wear your hat too tight when you were a little kid .....or spend an inordinate amount off time playing with your self ...we dont care so neither should you ....i doubt you're so rich you're actually paying any taxes ....you probably get a return .. but you just got a big mouth and like mouthing off .....keep ya mouth shut might be worth a try if you know whats good for you ...before you learn the hard way ....if you dont have something worth saying dont say it .....
Taryn Thoman November 28, 2012 at 06:12 PM
"....i doubt you're so rich you're actually paying any taxes" Don't you know that taxes are for little people, Alfred? Most working class folks can't avoid paying taxes!
Carol November 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Homeless people didn't "crawl into" the Calvary Baptist Church. They were guests at the church and it was an over loaded extension cord that started that fire. As for some of these homeless folks, there is the Noah Shelter and many churches in the area who give the homeless a safe and warm place to be at night. Many of these same homeless do not want to come in from the cold and stay in these shelters. They are making a choice and the community does not have to live with or around their choice to be homeless.
Carol November 28, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Wow Alfred, that was kinda rough. Taryn had an opinion, just like you have an opinion. Can't say I blame her in complaining about where our tax dollars go. I wish we could chose which programs we'd like to fund. Wouldn't you?
Tim November 28, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Alfred, child rapists, sex offenders of any kind and career violent criminals will never get respect from me. They don't deserve respect for the choices they make.
mardi sawyer November 28, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Tim, I agree with you wholeheartedly! These homeless are being shipped down here by the busload. My husband works his ass off and pays a lot of taxes. It's about time self reliance takes priority. Most of these people want to remain dependent on the govt. It is a very sad commentary on todays society! Now that Obama is in for a second term it is just gonna get worse. Tax the rich! the more taxes they raise; the more the govt spends. vicious circle! Jeeez!!!
Elizabeth J. Appleton November 28, 2012 at 11:48 PM
elizabeth....This action that the town of Barnstable did is a hard one for me...I had an uncle that slowly took to the streets..My family worked so hard to get him from the streets of Boston but no matter what they did for him and still wanted the streets. He had health issues and he was a drinker.. He also had mental health issues too. When he pasted it was on the streets. So as I said before, This is a Hard One for me..I could go to each corner and have completely different thought for each side.....
Taryn Thoman November 29, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Many of the homeless people are mentally ill, and not by choice. Others are working, but eight bucks an hour doesn't afford much on Cape Cod. If they're working, they're also paying taxes. If you didn't see it, watch the last town council meeting where a local (from here) homeless man who is working tried to explain that he is not homeless by choice, he's "just poor". Concern for the poor is a fundamental pillar of Christian identity and a constant theme throughout the Old and New Testaments. Hopefully at least those who call themselves "Christians" among us will summon some compassion for our homeless, at least enough to keep them alive through the winter. Have you stepped outside tonight? It's FA-REEEEZING. I wouldn't wish homelessness in this weather on anyone.
Taryn Thoman November 29, 2012 at 12:23 AM
To clarify, I am not proposing that we let these people die, I'm trying to point out that if we don't help them, at least in urgent situations, they will die of exposure. By destroying their camps and not providing emergency shelter, the town is allowing these people to die - FIFTEEN died last year alone.
Zach November 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Good. They may be homeless, yet they always have cigarettes and their booze. If they had their priorities straight, they wouldn't be homeless. Yet most collect disability checks, food stamps. So their homeless by choice, why pay rent when they can live in the woods and drink and do drugs on taxpayers dimes. So sympathy from me.
Tolstoy November 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM
For the uninformed out there, NOAH does not allow level 3 sex offenders in so those who are listing 77 Winter St as their address is in fact lying. NOAH also does not allow anyone in for more than one night who does not have a minimum 6 months proof of on Cape residency. So, it begs the question, has anyone actually seen the buses bringing off Cape residents to Hyannis? I haven't. And if we are truly searching to end the camps & homeless situation perhaps a re-evaluation of the cost of living (including housing costs) and the average hourly rate of pay on Cape Cod. This would take much more commitment from the community to find the answers. I suspect many are better at complaining than problem solving. Let's bear in mind that alcoholism, drug addiction and poor mental health are not choices. Let's also bear in mind that when mentally healthy people suddenly lose their housing whatever good mental health they previously enjoyed diminishes if for no other reason the stress that now dominates their existence. Some then turn to self medicating in an effort to numb the feelings of hopelessness and fear regarding this new life they have found themselves a part of.
Tolstoy November 29, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I would hope that our society on the whole is not really as ignorant as has been portrayed by the negative responses I have seen here and elsewhere. For those whose comments show the compassion that defines a great country I salute and thank you and would encourage you to if at all possible get involved in any capacity befitting your abilities to ease the condition of homelessness on Cape Cod.
kim November 30, 2012 at 07:51 AM
we have a shelter....maybe you have room at your house?
Dee Dee December 02, 2012 at 02:45 PM
While I agree that there are some that make this a lifestyle there are some that have no choice. I don't think destroying the only way they have to stay warm is the right thing to do if there isn't a viable alternative. There is at least a month wait for a bed at Noah right now. I would like to see programs like http://www.homelessnothopeless.org/14.html expand. The program isn't a handout but rather a hand up for those that desire it.
Chris December 02, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Very true about homeless not hopeless. Good people!
Taryn Thoman December 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
It's ironic that at the same time we're destroying homeless camps we're entertaining ordinances that will make it even harder for people to rent low-income homes in Barnstable. The message the town is sending is pretty clear - "we don't want your kind around here!". Ask yourself who is behind this agenda, and why?
Johnny December 08, 2012 at 08:17 AM
According to the article, the local authorities in charge of these sweep operations disposed of personal possessions belonging to individuals who dwelled in these encampments. As such, the town of Hyannis has likely violated the forth amendment rights of these individuals as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. See Kinkaid v. City of Fresno should this assertion seem off base. In this 2008 case, a Federal judge in California approved a $2.35 million settlement paid by the city of Fresno to over a hundred homeless individuals as compensation for the seizure and destruction of their personal possessions. Since that settlement, sweeps of homeless encampments continue in Fresno, though authorities are now obliged to tag and bag possessions, hold them for 90 days, and make them available for repossession by their owners.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »