Salvation Army assisting homeless as deadline to leave Greenfiel - KPTV - FOX 12

Salvation Army assisting homeless as deadline to leave Greenfield common looms

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
(Western mass News photo) (Western mass News photo)
GREENFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

More than two dozen people living in tents on the Greenfield town common have now been ordered to leave the property by August 20.

It’s a situation the mayor has been grappling with for weeks and he promises to find an alternative for those left homeless.

In the meantime, meals, showers, and other help is being offered.

Some call him the 'Robin Hood of the homeless.'  Others, captain for short.

"I have a great relationship with many of the people here," said Scott Peabody, commanding officer of the Salvation Army in Greenfield.

Regardless of what you call Peabody, there’s little doubt he is making a difference.

“Homelessness can happen to anybody at any given time," Peabody noted.

In early July, a homeless camp popped up on the last place in town without a curfew: the town common.

Almost every morning since, Peabody has been stopping by doing the little things - from picking up trash to being a friend.

“Usually check in with some of the individuals, try and see what their immediate needs are, try to work on some outcome measures," Peabody noted.

The leader of the Salvation Army in Greenfield is even a personal taxi.

“Getting them to detox and things like that.  Some, we're working to try and help to find housing," Peabody explained.

It's not just at the common where the Salvation Army lends a hand.  They also do so at their headquarters.  Monday through Friday, each morning from 8 to 9, they serve breakfast free of charge and then people return between 11 and 12 for lunch.

Patricia Culver comes to the Salvation Army for her two hot meals a day.  She’s been homeless for three years.

“That white van right over there.  [Right there?]  That's my current situation. I live in that," Culver said.

Culver told Western Mass News that while it’s nice to see the camp on the common bring Greenfield’s homeless crisis to light, there’s plenty of others who remain in the shadows not receiving the same attention.

“There's also people out in tents outside of the town common that don't want to be known that want help, but don't want to be a part.  Nothing against the common, but they don't want to be known in that problem," Culver added.

Culver said that the solution to the common is complex, but a short-term solution - like permission to stay at a campground - might work.  Regardless, she said that there’s no more room for incoming people who are homeless.

“There's no room for anybody anymore.  You're gonna be either stuck out in the woods or stuck in a car.  If you want to be homeless that way, don't come to Greenfield," Culver noted.

Mike Glenn and his wife, Janet, are also homeless.  After a shower and stack of pancakes on Friday morning, they were feeling good, relieved to at least have a place that cares.

“If it wasn't for this place, the Salvation Army, we'd probably be dead, ya know.  The place has saved our lives in many ways," Mike Glenn said.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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