Should ‘Occupy Boston’ Protestors Qualify For Homeless Services?

BOSTON (CBS) – Should ‘Occupy Boston’ tent dwellers qualify for homeless services in the city?

They have several services at the protest site – meals, a library, a medical tent and bathrooms across the street at South Station.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

But one thing they don’t have is a shower.

The group’s on-line newspaper tells occupiers that if they need a shower they can go to St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in the heart of downtown Boston.

But the question is – do people who choose to live in tents in Dewey Square qualify as homeless?

The fact is, some of the people living in those tents are homeless.

That’s why a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Tom Menino told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Tuesday that “there are people there who are homeless and need the homeless services.”

She went on to say, however, though that those occupiers “who need a shower, who have homes to go to, should take a shower at home.”

What do you think?

Share your opinion in the comments section below.

More from Carl Stevens
  • shotime

    Not all taxpayers support OB, so why should we all have to support their needs! Enough is enough… if the city would shut this camp down like they should, this would all be a non-issue!

    • blackbear1

      You are quite correct shotime. We should not even be having this discussion.

      • mamajam

        You are incorrect blackbear. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the constitutional rights we fought and died for. To toss it out the window now seems a little dumb.

      • Jim Jezowski

        Mamajam, you’re entitled to free speech, but your NOT entitled for me to pay for and provide you the forum. You can speak all you want, but I don’t have to pay for your food and showers while you do it.

    • A


      We are not talking about their constitutional right to protest.
      By all means let them

      We are talking about feeding them, sheltering them etc etc
      and there is no constititutional requirement that we do that

      In my opinion, they are there of own free will and cost.
      I don’t see why my tax money should be used to support them

      • Enough

        Could not have said it better myself! If they are cold at night, go home at night and come back every morning. Taking up space in a homeless shelter at night is not right, they are not homeless. Utter selfishness.

    • bosmonkey

      I don’t believe in this movement and think they are going about this completely wrong. They should be protesting in Washington and against politicans. They are the ones who make law, have not closed tax loopholes, gave corp bailouts without stipulations, etc…

      In saying that, these Occupy people are there on their own accord and taxpayers should NOT have pay for anythign for them!!

  • gigi

    It seems the OB people are making a consciencous choice to be outside in their tents (i.e. the majority have a house/apt etc to return to but choose not to) whereas the homeless are more at the mercy of life choices that lead them down the path to homelessness. Therefore I do not think homeless services should be granted to the OB people.

  • dms

    As the term implies, homeless services are intended for the homeless and not for a bunch of knuckleheads who voluntarily put themselves in sub-standard living conditions. No tax money should be spend to support this movement. I also think they should have to pay for the electricity and any other services and support provided by the city. Just like any other citizen.

  • Denise

    What is the point of all these Occupy “where ever”… isn’t it to bring attention to the “very wealthy and big business” taking advantage of those beneath them? Well as far as I’m concerned if the people using the services of this homeless shelter are not truely homeless 24/7 – they they are no better than the people they are protesting against. This program is all that many of these homeless have – just because these people are making a choice to stay out in the tents to make a statement – doesn’t mean they should be able to “take” what belongs to someone else – when they could in reality afford it themselves. People donate to the homeless shelter for the HOMELESS! People I see have the option to donate to this Occupy XYZ too – well that should be where they get their assistance and go without if they don’t get it! Those of us that work to support our families don’t just go take whatever we want or need from someone else because we don’t have it or can’t afford it – we go without! If you aren’t homeless stay out – this program is starting to sound like the illegal immigrants that are coming into our country and taking the services that should be for those that are US citizens and contributed to the programs – Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should or it’s right!!!! but that’s just my opinion…

  • GB

    Really?… Seriously?….. “homeless services”….. ????… this is a joke.. right?????

    • tdne

      Exactly my reaction when I saw this question! Stop giving these idiots any more attention.

  • DoverDavid

    Absolutely not! It’s their choice to be there.

  • justsayin

    Occupy Boston: Get out of our city!!!!!!! No way should these protesters be using resources reserved for those truly in need. The “occupancy” is their choice. This fiasco has set a dangerous precedent for the city. Menino is a bigger fool than already thought he was by allowing this to continue. They are now a permanent blight on Boston, blue tarps, a destroyed public resource (park) on the R.K. Greenway. Enough is enough. We don’t want you there all winter, so ambulances can take your frozen, hypothermic, bodies to shelters and hospitals at public expense…..GO AWAY!!!!!

  • Steve

    You are quite correct shotime. We should not even be having this discussion.
    Who is the idiot who even asked the question?

  • FireGuyFrank

    NO! In fact, they should be sent the bill for clean up and other costs Boston and the Bay State are incurring.

  • sloopjohnB2

    If Menino had any brains or guts, he would send the police in there to clean the rabble out. He’s always complaining that the city is broke. Why is he spending so much money on cops to watch these clowns?

    • Loan Vu

      if only that was possible, but due to the dumb loopholes in our system, as long as they’re protesting calmly with no violence there’s nothing anyone can do.

  • Loan Vu

    are you kidding me?!?!?! not only are they out there protesting aimlessly and yelling at the people who walk out of their business buildings who themselves are average joes, now they want to waste more tax dollars when they clearly have a home to return to but choose to sleep on the streets?!?!?! how about we give the real homeless people some “homeless services”. so stupid…go home already!

  • buddha

    Oh! Hell No, Get up, Get out and find a job. This is not the way to protest.
    Your just costing everyone more money, cleaning up after you. Go vote for someone who will do something about the useless trash that is running this country, in which we voted them in office.

  • Rob

    I’m glad there are people out there who don’t agree with this movement. I think this is stupid and I am in college right now. I can tell you as a fact that most kids get liberal arts degrees because they are extremely easy. If you wasted your college loans on a degree that doesn’t even give you a remote chance for finding a good job, then that is your own fault. You all knew that the entire time you wasted in college. Business, medical, and engineering are the most difficult fields, and subsequently pay the highest wages. I don’t agree with anything relating to the “Occupy” movement. I don’t want to be classified with the 99% of idiots who take the easy road in life.

    • Benjamin

      Can’t wait til you graduate and realize thejobs in YOUR field are now based out of India.

      • Rob

        Not necessarily. If you were in a related field you would know that outsourcing primarily applies to IT. I go to a decent school, and I also won’t blame anyone from India if they DO take my a job. I will go out and look for another one. It’s called “not giving up”. It’s something your grand parents did. This country has a new generation raised on “give me”. Are you going to go BLAME someone else for your life?

    • Whitney Joy

      Wow, Rob, you surveyed every single person who has gotten or is getting a liberal arts degree to statistically demonstrate the majority get a liberal arts degree because it is extremely easy? If you have not, you can’t say you know “as a fact”. Perhaps some reflection on other perspectives is warranted.

    • George

      Bravo, Rob! Glad to see there are still some College students out there who have the ability to actually THINK, not just ape and parrot what their professors tell them to think! You’re giving me some hope…

  • jaygee

    I think we should all be nice and give them benefits, buy them new winter-proof tents, toss in a new car, free medical services, some new clothes and whatever else they want. Of course, what I just said is totally absurd but they started it.

  • Carole, NH

    My opinion, for what it is worth, since I am out of state, is that they should be allowed to protest but then neatly pick up after themselves and go home at night. It is not fair to the general public to have an area they need to avoid because of these protestors living in tents. Mayor Menino I’m surprised at you allowing this tent city to exist. That is not protesting but rather taking advantage of the city.

  • AK

    A little hypocritical don’t you think………..taking the bare necessities away from those who really need them.

  • tsal

    I can’t help but wonder what everyone commenting here would have had to say about that rag-tag band of men who fought for the rights of the colonists several hundred years ago.

    Should the occupy group receive showers – technically no they should not. Morally – well my guess is that the army that surprised the British in Lexington and Concord and then on Breeds Hill and in many other places were not provided showers by some either. They camped out in the streets of Boston and I’m sure many wanted them to go home. They were fighting for representation. If someone could explain to me how he/she feels we are being represented by those we elect – from either party – I’d love to hear it. At the moment, the only ones I see being represented are the special interest groups and lobbyists and of course the wealth.

    I for one am glad that army in the late 1700s didn’t go home. Guess that would not have made me a loyalist or Tory.

    • Benjamin

      This, I like! Only about 3% of Americans actively fought in the last Revolution – all the Tories here can say what they want, their actions are going to be limited to watching TV and maybe voting once a year while others make history.

    • Benjamin

      This, I like! Only about 3% of Americans actively fought in the last Revolution – all the Tories here can say what they want, their actions are going to be limited to watching TV and maybe voting once a year while others make history.

    • Jim Jezowski

      STUPID! The army was a sanctioned entity supported by the people, and actually the people were behind them. Unlike these idiots that are getting the whopping support of the lower 20’s% of americans and falling daily.

      • Tsal

        Jim depending on what historian you listen to between 3 and 33% of colonists supported the revolutionaries. 54% support occupy. Also when you get insulting it tends to saybyou have nothing worthwhile to say

    • George

      Of course, that army in the late 1700’s was also fighting for the right to bear arms (which the “Occupiers” in their manifesto have called for a complete ban on) was fighting against a government that forced them to purchase goods they did not wish to (i.e., the original Boston Tea Party, a direct counterpoint to Obamacare forcing Americans to purchase a product they do not want), and once they were victorious formed a government that centered itself squarely around a Capitalist economic system, (i.e. Alexander Hamilton’s banking theories) not the Socialist system the “Occupiers” are calling for.

      They also wanted a weak central/strong local government, and then there was that bit about taxes too… So, no tsal, these “Occupiers” really have nothing in common with that “rag-tag band” you refer to. My guess? The Continental Army would have used them for target practice, or at least would have pressed them into doing something useful, like burying the dead Patriots who had died at Lexington, Concord, etc. actually standing up for something REAL.

      • Mark

        Couldnt have said it better George. Here’s a link to a Youtube to furthur the point.

      • George

        Hey Mark, thanks for the link! What a heroic bunch of “people” we have here, hiding behind innocent children… yet another thing they don’t have in common with the Patriots of 1775. (Can’t seem to recall the Minutemen hiding behind their kids at Lexington Green…)

  • nocab

    NO if they are not truly homeless it’s their problem

  • jak

    Go home, get a job and help with our national debt, pay taxes like all the rest of us. We got your message. Oh and clean up the mess you are making.

  • Benjamin

    Many people in the camp are in fact homeless. The shelters in Boston are full to capacity, and many of the shelters which do exist are dirty and dangerous even when space is available.

    Most people commenting here would have called the Virgin Mary a degenerate vagrant looking for a handout, and asked Menino to clear her and the baby out of the manger.

    • Tsal

      And this I like. Well said

    • gramps

      Bennie, You stated:

      “Most people commenting here would have called the Virgin Mary a degenerate vagrant looking for a handout, and asked Menino to clear her and the baby out of the manger.”

      I don’t agree, you’re wrong, as the bible/ ‘FABLE’ goes “Mary, in her very delicate condition, along with ‘hubby’ was on her way to pay her ‘TAXES’….so she could support the vagrants of the little town of ‘Bethlehem’

      See you in church…


  • Whitney Joy

    Is St. Francis House supported by tax dollars?? The article states that Occupiers have their own food and shelter – so this is not a matter of those issues. We are talking about shower facilities. At this moment in the U.S. shower water is not a scare commodity – so someone taking a shower is not taking a resource away from another “more needy” individual (lumping human beings into deserving and undeserving categories does more harm than good). Also, by definition, the Occupiers are homeless:

  • Katie

    The occupiers should not be allowed to use homeless shelters to shower. IF they have somewhere to go, home, college dorm they need to go there. The homeless people of Boston, the ones who have no home are the only people that should be eligible to use any city services.

    • Benjamin

      St. Francis house is a private non-profit run by Franciscan Friars, it is not a “city service.” Boston has almost no services available to homeless people – ask them if you don’t believe me.

      • Tsal

        Oh my Benjamin and Whitney voices of reason. This I really like.

      • Whitney Joy

        Thanks, Benjamin. Again, everyone, we are talking about using shower facilities. That’s all.

  • Whitney Joy

    I just checked on the funding stream for St. Francis – a very small percentage of revenue is through tax dollars. St. Francis also states that they welcome everyone who walks through their doors. If they do not have a problem with Occupiers using their facilities, why should anyone else? The more I read anti-Occupier comments, the more I believe people just want to be angry. And we all should be angry — but not at the protesters. And for all of you telling the protestors to get a job, I assume you have a job, otherwise you would know how difficult it is to get a job. This is not an issue of individual laziness. That’s an easy way to classify and belittle those who are working for change — it’s an issue of being fed up by a broken, flawed, unjust system.

    • Just my Opinion

      That is fine if St Francis has no problem with the occupiers.. however, they won’t be getting my donation dollars. I think anyone who has a home should not be taking advantage of a service for those who are truly in need are no better then those they are protesting.

      • Tsal1

        They will be getting mine. I was looking for more ways to help

      • Nab71

        But St. Francis DOES have a problem with the occupiers. They have asked not to be listed as a location.

      • tsal

        Hi Nab – I wonder how many stories are accurate. This from WHDH seems to explain better. Apparently it is the homeless from the Occupy group using the showers since the Occupy group has other arrangements. And St Francis didn’t seem to say not to be named – more like not to be promoted – and an Occupier is working on getting it off the site on his/her own.

  • justsayin'

    I have a real problem with the occupiers their protest has already forced a reschedule of a fund raising event. A permitted event. They have lost my support because now they are interfering with other legitimate functions. They are taking away from the homeless. If they have homes they should be showering there. Their online web news said people needing showers and food could get it at St Francis. Really?! St Francis condoning this has made me re-evaluate where my donation dollars go and they are not even on the list. The city has already given way too much to them and now they are taking away from those who truly need help.

    • Tsal

      Justsayin. Can you pint me to where you commented that they had your support to begin with

      • Tsal

        That’s point me. I figure most would get that but just in case. And my bet is they were not on your donation list or even your radar to begin with.

  • Yikes

    Currently the issue is showers, but when it’s below zero are they going to be looking to sleep there at night?

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