By Rosalie Tirella
… about some developments. Last night, just as I slipped into my jammies and got ready to watch “The 400 Blows,” my fave film, for the tenth time, I got a call from a PIP client. Distraught over the living situation down there.
Now InCity Times has covered the PIP for over a decade, back when the lovely Buddy was its executive director. Even in the Buddy days, when PIP clients were actually loved, treated with much kindness … it was still a scary place.
These days things seem to have exploded, imploded, spun out of control at the PIP, so now we have a dirty, dumpy, violent hell hole. Or so alot of PIP clients claim, including the person who called me last night, a sweet heart, I may add. She picked up this issue of ICT and got my number off the masthead. A regular reader, God love her!
We talked about the old PIP regime. Do the clients miss George Orcut and his mom, life long PIP workers who along with Budddy, made
the PIP clients, Wusta’s truly downtrodden, a home, a special place?
I would say YES. However, something else is going on at the PIP. Clients, as battle weary/ready and tough as they come, are afraid to lay their heads on their PIP pillows to sleep it off, wait for the new day to dawn. New hope? New fix? That always depended on the client.
But the woman who called me last night said people were assaulted nightly. That the police were there nightly. That a 19-year-old girl was sleeping amidst a bunch of street guys.
There used to be male and female sleeping quarters when Buddy ran the PIP. Yes, folks, wasted on junk or booze, used to be sprawled out on the floor in the main area, but the old PIP workers tried to get them to one of the tables in the room, off to a corner, maybe talking with a PIP social or health worker.
All that should still be happening, no matter how put out SMOC, the Metro West agency that now runs the PIP, feels.
SMOC has run the PIP for a few years now, but it has agreed to close the PIP building at 701 Main Street and wait for new digs to be opened in the Piedmont neighborhood.
Well, furniture was gotten rid of, the place was set up to feed folks, assess the real hard luck/sick cases and move them out to local hospitals. Then the City of Worcester asked SMOC to stick with their old mission for a little while longer, since the new shelter in Piedmont was running behind schedule … And Worcester had no place set up for its drug abusing homeless population.
Personally, I think city officials were hoping for such a gap. So the people that no one wants to deal with/care for could fall into it … and disappear.