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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Agency closing Framingham 'wet' shelter

FRAMINGHAM

A homeless shelter in downtown Framingham that has been a lightning rod for controversy is shutting down next month.

South Middlesex Opportunity Council executive director James Cuddy says today the agency will close the Common Ground Shelter on Oct. 16 and place its residents in other housing in the community.

Town and SMOC officials have been in negotiations for at least a month to close the shelter. Town officials have said some of the crime downtown can be attributed to the shelter.

Town Manager Julian Suso praised the agency's decision in a statement.

"Based on police department arrest statistics, the town believes that closure of the wet shelter will help to decrease crime in downtown Framingham," Suso said. "Further, closure of the wet shelter will facilitate downtown revitalization and redevelopment, a major policy goal of the Board of Selectmen."

The facility is known as a "wet shelter," because people are allowed to stay there even if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

-- John Drake

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