In a compelling tale of unity, Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood turns the tables on the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) phenomenon, welcoming a unique housing solution that offers much more than a roof over heads. The 140 Clarendon project, a retrofitted structure in one of Boston’s priciest areas, welcomes the homeless and disadvantaged, fostering not just a sense of community, but a promising new start. “The solitude is priceless after sleeping in a room with 30 or 40 people,” resident Garry Monteiro describes. “Right now, I have $4 sitting on my nightstand. I’ve come and gone all week, and it’s still there.” This endeavor redefines neighborhood values and showcases the power of compassionate city planning. Residents also receive case managers and on-site support services. As Howard Koh, faculty chair of the Initiative on Health and Homelessness at Harvard University, notes, “The collaboration of all the partners, public and private, to make such progress is a great example of how people can rise to the challenge.” It truly offers “leadership lessons for all cities.”

A Blessing for the Homeless in the World

by Pierre Pradervand
from his book 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World

I bless those whom the circumstances of life have driven to live in the streets or in derelict basements and other abandoned places.

I bless them in their courage to hang in there until the circumstances of their life take an upturn for the better – knowing that I may be part of that improvement.

I bless the authorities of this city or small town that they may provide shelters for the homeless.

I bless restaurants and those stores which sell food, that they may donate what they no longer need to the homeless and destitute.

I bless those with open hearts who search the streets and alleys for those who need assistance and help them find places where they can stay.

I bless those employers and others who have jobs to offer that they may think also of the destitute when providing work.

And above all, I bless the homeless that they may see themselves, not as poor victims needing assistance, but as children of the universe here to move the hearts of their fellow humans to deeper compassion and more active love.