Gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren blasts Gov. Baker over Craig’s Doors funding freeze

  • Setti Warren Gazette File Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 12/15/2017 10:48:21 PM

AMHERST — A Democratic candidate for Massachusetts governor is calling on the Republican governor to release money for the town’s homeless shelter, which he argues is pivotal for confronting the opioid crisis and combating addictions.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren on Friday issued a statement expressing concern for the decision by Gov. Charlie Baker to freeze the $200,000 earmark for Craig’s Doors: A Home Association Inc., which operates the Craig’s Place shelter.

“Programs like Craig’s Place, and so many others across the state, will be essential to solving the opioids problem,” Warren said. “If we don’t have the money for these kinds of programs, we should raise the revenue to fund them.”

The hold on the money happened in 2016, as well. The decision was based on questions about whether there is sufficient money in the state budget for the shelter and other programs supported through earmarks.

Warren is one of three Democrats who have announced they want to challenge Baker. The others are Jay Gonzalez, former state secretary of administration and finance, and Bob Massie, an entrepreneur and 2012 U.S. Senate candidate.

The office of Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, D-Amherst, was also expected to send a letter to Baker advocating for the funding.

Warren held a roundtable in November in which Craig’s Doors co-executive directors Jade Lovett and Rachel Weiss participated and informed him that Amherst’s site is unique among regional homeless shelters in its behavior-based entrance policy.

“Since it is the only shelter that does not require sobriety, the staff and volunteers at Craig’s Place are also on the front lines of fighting the growing opioid epidemic,” Warren said.

The governor, he added, should be providing help, not hindering the work and putting the shelter into a state of emergency for no good reason.

“While Gov. Baker uses these kinds of fiscal tricks and sleights of hand to make the budget appear balanced on paper, there are real life consequences for people, including those who depend on Craig’s Place for salvation,” Warren said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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