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Roxbury Plan To Relaunch Recovery Programs Previously Held On Long Island Fails

Boston officials say a plan for a site in Roxbury to house recovery programs for many of the people displaced by the closure of Long Island services has fallen through.

Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Marty Walsh, said concerns expressed by residents at a community meeting last week prompted the city to end its pursuit of the neighborhood's former Radius Hospital as an option to relaunch recovery programs once held on the island.

The plan would have moved more than 200 beds to the Radius site.

"The decision was made following a community meeting in Roxbury," Norton said in an email, "where we heard feedback loud and clear from the community. Following that meeting, it became clear that we needed to pursue another option."

The island housed the city's largest homeless shelter and a substance abuse treatment program, where approximately 300 people received help from the city and other nonprofit organizations.

Since the closure of the only bridge leading to the island in Boston Harbor in October, some 450 homeless residents have been displaced.

City officials say they are continuing to look for options to house and give access to treatment to those who used to seek shelter and assistance on the island.

Norton said the city has no new information on potential housing locations. Walsh's administration announced in a statement on Nov. 26 that two Boston Public Health Commission facilities in Mattapan were being restored to replace some of the recovery programs.

Officials said BPHC's Building N, which is located on River Street and formerly housed the commission's food pantry, will be the first of the two sites to launch in December. It will house 74 beds, and its revamp is set to cost $91,000, the statement said. Norton said the site is not yet operational.

The second site planned to take on some of the need created by the loss of the Long Island recovery programs is BPHC's Adult Daycare Building, which can house 50 emergency beds or 20 program beds. It is set to cost $22,500 and open in January 2015.

Currently, many people in need of housing after the closure of the bridge are in shelters run by the city or other independently run housing programs, according to the statement.

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