Efforts to save Taunton State Hospital receive Congressional support
Boston- Senator Marc Pacheco is pleased to release Congressman William Keating’s (MA-10) written testimony from today’s rally at the Statehouse to support mental health services and oppose the closure of Taunton State Hospital. In addition to Congressman Keating, Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman Stephen Lynch also issued their support for keeping Taunton State Hospital open. The U.S. House of Representatives was in formal session in Washington DC today.
“Thank you to Senator Pacheco for reading this short statement on my behalf. I am unfortunately in Washington, DC, but am here with you in spirit.
This cause has 100% of my support behind it because if there was ever a group of people whose needs should be protected, it is those who suffer from mental illness. Our country is still working to move past the stigma that has for years plagued these individuals. At a time when our country is finally, openly embracing and caring for these people, Massachusetts is moving in the other direction.
This is unacceptable.
Taunton State Hospital is the only mental treatment facility available to the residents of Southeastern Massachusetts. People who live in my district - in Provincetown, for example – already have to travel to Taunton for services. Now, the state is telling them that they need to travel even further for vital treatment that we – as a state – have agreed to make available for them.
Driving almost 100 miles – which is the distance they need to travel now – to get medical treatment in not very available, in my opinion. But the state thinks they should add to that distance.
And what about the increased costs associated with this for the families of patients? Or the stress on their families and their jobs?
What about the jobs of all the dedicated medical professionals who work at Taunton?
Has no one taken these concerns into account? If they had, I am certain that we would not have to rally today to keep Taunton State Hospital open because its value to our community would be apparent.
Well, its value is apparent to me and it’s apparent to all of us here today.
For years this country turned a blind eye to people with mental illness. We cannot go back to that. We cannot turn a blind eye to this injustice against our friends and neighbors who suffer from mental illness.
I stand with you as we fight to do what is right for those suffering from mental illness and for our community. Keep Taunton State Hospital open.”
Senator Pacheco ensures passage of Taunton Home Rule petition
Allows Hope IV grant project to move forward
Taunton- The redevelopment of the Fairfax Gardens public housing community in Taunton took one step forward today as a Home Rule petition cleared the Senate. The petition, filed by Senator Marc R. Pacheco on behalf of the City of Taunton formally allows Trinity Financial and the Taunton Housing Authority to collaborate on this project.
The project will result in the development of 190 units of mixed-income housing utilizing the $22 million HOPE VI grant the City recently received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“I’m very pleased this locally supported legislation cleared the Senate today,” said Pacheco. “The legislation will allow this tremendous project in the City of Taunton to move further in the process. Not only will Taunton benefit by receiving adequate housing, but a significant amount of jobs will be created during a time when they are drastically needed.”
The Fairfax Gardens development, consisting of 150 barracks-style units built in 1951, now houses 150 families. The THA will demolish this 15-acre site and rebuild a mixed-income housing neighborhood. The THA will replace all 150 existing units with 88 new “green” townhouse style units each having front and back yards to replicate the surrounding neighborhood. The existing community center will be renovated and expanded. New streets as well as bike and pedestrian paths will be built, as will community gardens.
The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for further action.