Homeless families at Gateway Inn need help

I’m re-posting a shout out from the Arlington list-serv that was reposted to Belmont’s mailing list on Saturday. The message concerns an estimated 75 homeless families, including 100 children, that are being housed at the Gateway Inn on Route 2 in Cambridge (right next to Lanes ‘n Games bowling alley). (NOTE: I haven’t called to confirm this with the Gateway, but I have no reason to doubt its veracity.) In addition to the steps for helping these families outlined below, its worthwhile coordinating our efforts with food or clothing drives, trips to BJs/Costco, etc. Some parents in Arlginton have also organized events (musical performances, book readings) to make sure the childrens’ intellectual, emotional and physical needs are being met. If you’ve got ideas, post ’em.
According to the e-mail, the families are living in hotel rooms with a mini fridge and a microwave each. Families stay at the Inn an average of 2 to 3 month. According to the post, the families are receiving food stamps and other forms of assistance to buy food, but –no surprise — the families are living in difficult circumstances and need help and support. Here are some areas of need that have been identified for Belmont community members to reach out:
  • Donations of Clothing/Toys: These can be dropped off at the front desk of the Gateway, where the front desk attendant and residents will sort through them and get them to the families that need them.No used underwear, bathing suits, worn items or dirty clothes. No broken toys or toys with small parts. Shoes are needed, especially for older children and adults.
  • Donations of Books: Board-books, especially.Books and magazines for the adults are also appreciated.
  • Household Items: Each room has a mini-fridge and microwave, so any food, plates, mugs, bowls or flatware that are microwaveable are needed. Paper plates are great, too. As are napkins, cups, storage containers, zip-lock bags, etc.
  • Food: Anything microwaveable – microwaveable mac&cheese boxes, etc. Canned food, non-perishable, baby food, etc.
  • Toiletries: These aren’t covered by food stamps, etc.CVS or Walgreens gift cards are a good idea, multi packs of soap, feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes, etc.

If you’re unable to drive items over yourself, two Arlington residents have agreed to have donations dropped on their porch. They are:

  • Eric Segal,84 Milton Street (East Arlington – off Mass Ave near ‘Za – 2nd house on 2nd block)
  • Liz Jaramillo,78 Harlow Street, East Arlington – off Mass Ave

A poll and a survey…

A quick note on some important polling that’s going on in town this week that are begging for input from the BloggingBelmont readership. The first is a residential parking survey that’s being conducted by the town to gauge residents feelings about the current parking regulations in town. This survey is important (you may have received a robo call regarding it on Friday) and will be used to shape street parking bylaws and policies in coming years. So if you’ve got an opinion about onstreet parking, overnight parking, or how many cars your neighbors can have in their driveway, click on the link abouve and please weigh in. Or, visit the town’s Web site: http://www.town.belmont.ma.us/Home/I01476F4D. 

The other item worth your attention is a poll that’s being conducted by the Belmont Citizen Herald to solicit input on possible Prop 2 1/2 overrides to patch the hole in the town’s operational budget. As often happens with these polls (here as elsewhere) the results tend to reflect the opinions of the most strident subscribers. Currently, the poll is showing a slight majority (55%) against any override. Votes for overrides of various sizes makes up the rest.

The BCH makes clear that they’re for fun and unscientific. The problem is that the results of these polls often end up as news stories online (and in print?) and those tend to shape opinions and conversation within town. So if a SurveyMonkey poll of 100 readers turns out lopsided against any override, and a news story gets written to that effect, the impression in town is that an override is doomed, even while only a tiny fraction of voters took part. Take 30 seconds and tell the BCH how you feel about the town’s need for an operational override!

Vote for Me for School Committee!

As some of you may have read in Thursday’s Citizen Herald, I’ve decided to run for what’s left of Diane Stafford’s three year term on School Committee. This will be a one year position vacated by Becky Vose, who’s seeking a three year position on the School Committee. As Cassie Norton’s excellent write up in the Citizen Herald stated: this is a way for me to give back to this community and take a more active role in the important decisions that face our town and our schools. With three children, ages 8, 6 and 4 I’ve got skin in the game, as they say. And the issues facing our students are issues that I care deeply about.

Giving back is what Blogging Belmont has been about (and will continue to be about).  In the process of gathering signatures for my nomination (which were handed in today, thank you very much), I heard an earful from residents about what they’d like from their schools and their town. They want excellence and transparency and thoughtful leadership. Above all, they want an end to the rancor and serial crises that have come to define Belmont politics. Should I be fortunate enough to get elected, I’ll work hard on behalf of our schools and our kids. I’ll also work hard to bring transparency to the School Committee and to improve communications with town leaders, and the voters in general. I hope you’ll vote for me for School Committee.


Paul Roberts