Investigate impact of services Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Linda Dunbrack, Framingham Metrowest Daily News
This letter is sparked by the 7/6 editorial "Your rights to your backyard."  The recent controversies over affordable housing and expanding social service agencies have generated many inflammatory generalizations of groups of people from both sides.  However, I expect higher standards from professional journalists.

Did the editorial writer check to see"people who call themselves conservatives" were the only people who showed up at the first STEPPS, or simply assume so because they tend to be a vocal group?  My sense is that this movement has a broader base.

Is "anti-social service crowd" a fair moniker for those who are not in favor of the town subsidizing the cost of providing social services to the entire region?  Over and over, I have heard many affirm the need for and applaud the work of social services in town even as they complain about the costs and consequences of hosting those a disproportionate amount of those services.

Rather than take easy quotes from social service providers and the same old opposition voices, why not investigate key questions?  What are the financial impacts of social services, both positive and negative?  How much of a crime problem is there really around the wet shelter and methadone clinic, as implied by those opposing social service expansion?  How have other communities/social service providers handled these issues differently, and what results have they had?

In-depth investigation might yield some surprising results for those on all sides.

Send comments to: