On Tuesday, this paper published an opinion piece by Herb Janick, president of Preble Street’s board of directors, that contradicts information personally shared with me by Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann. Like Mr. Janick, I feel the need to set the record straight.

On March 21, I met with Mark, City Manager Jon Jennings, Councilor Belinda Ray and Preble Street Deputy Director Donna Yellen. I was told that there were plans to open a new women’s shelter and that the resource center would be closing.

I was surprised about the proposed women’s shelter (or healing center) because the proposed location is so near the epicenter of chaos in Bayside.

The resource center news was less surprising. Preble Street has been progressively scaling back hours for the past few years, first in summer 2017, well before the Oxford Street Shelter moved to 24 hours. More cuts came in the summer and fall of 2018, down to 20 hours a week.

Preble Street’s operations impact the entire neighborhood, and we talked about security, where clients might find alternatives, the soup kitchen remaining open, etc. I asked when the resource center would close, and Mark stated that it could be as soon as “the fall.” I was told I could share this information, and Mark attended a Bayside Neighborhood Association meeting April 2 to discuss it.

I did not hear the vague and qualifying language Mr. Janick described. I heard a defined plan, a timeline and details being worked out.

If the city manager was mischaracterizing Preble Street’s plans, the other three attendees were also doing so. I don’t know whether Mr. Janick was left out of the loop or is confused about his organization’s intentions. If Preble Street has altered course, I hope they will share their new roadmap.

Sarah Michniewicz

president, Bayside Neighborhood Association


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