Gifford Street Complex to House Homeless on Transitional Basis

CCB MEDIA A 66-year-old Harwich native walks out of the woods, as, ahead of her, Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald wheels out her belongings in a shopping cart.

CCB MEDIA
A 66-year-old Harwich native walks out of the woods, as, ahead of her, Barnstable Police Chief Paul MacDonald wheels out her belongings in a shopping cart.

FALMOUTH – The Bridgeport housing complex on Gifford Street will now house Falmouth’s homeless on a transitional basis.

The eight units, constructed in 2005, were always meant to provide housing for the Cape’s homeless. But according to Falmouth Housing Corporation’s Assistant Director Kathleen Botelho, the need in Falmouth specifically has grown to the point where a rotating schedule of tenants is needed.

“Back in 2005, the homeless population used to congregate in Hyannis,” she said. “We decided to bring it back to its original intent.”

A few residents have been living in the units for longer stretches of time; one of them, since it opened.

Botelho said those residents are on permanent housing lists, meaning that they will soon move into a one-bedroom situation.

“Our hope is that one moves out, another can move right in,” she said.

She said the hope is for new tenants to only stay until they are on their feet.

The need for further housing in Falmouth was brought to the corporation’s attention by the work of Paul Rifkin and his group Belonging to Each Other, Botelho said.

As for the cause of poverty on the Cape, Botelho said an unstable economy and other factors cause many to live paycheck to paycheck. When one unforeseen bill comes along, she said it can often tip families and individuals over the edge.

She also said addiction, alcoholism and divorce are common causes of homelessness in the area.

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