Upham's Corner Online

Vinfen Group House - 25 Virginia St - Update

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Nancy J Conrad

Review prior article: Vinfen Group House - First Neighborhood Meeting

Bob Haas, President, called the  Upham's Corner West Side Neighborhood Association meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 12, 2010. The primary focus was a follow-up on September's meeting regarding the Vinfen Group House at 25 Virginia St and Vinfen's management of it.

Present for this meeting were representatives from the Department of Mental Health, Vinfen and the company that owns the house.  Also present were residents from the group house and residents from the UCWNA area.

John Murphy, Vinfen Director of Service gave a report on progress made since the last meeting:

  • a full length fence on one side of the property
  • privacy panels at the gazebo
  • discontinuing the use of bleach to clean the front porch
  • cleaning trash in the front yard, on the sidewalk and the street in front
  • adding additional staffing to replace anyone who must go off site
Aaron and Catherine Larget-Caplan of 21 Virginia Street both stated that problems coming from the group house have diminished considerably including trash and loud noises.  Instead of seven incidents a day, Aaron stated, the issues have dropped to approximately 10 per week -- a dramatic change.  This, he said, is still too high, and he looks forward to even fewer issues over time.  

Attendees brought up the following additional issues regarding group house residents:
  • a female resident is drinking heavily and travels throughout the Upham's corner area panhandling
  • one of the Vinfen property workers has a confrontational attitude
  • one of the female group house residents is very loud, out-of-control  and the primary source of most of the noise issues
Several of the attendees discussed the difficulty of "transferring" mentally handicapped residents.  Just because someone is a problem to the neighborhood -- even a big problem -- doesn't mean they can be easily moved to a different group house.  

Residents including Aaron and Catherine were encouraged by Vinfen staff and the Boston Police Community Services Officer to use 911 to register complaints and, if possible, to maintain a private log.  In order for Vinfen staff to handle tenant issues effectively, they need proof.  

John Murphy thanked everyone and said he would return to the next UCWNA meeting.  

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