Ten Years Since Springfield’s Sanctuary CitySPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — It’s been ten years since dozens of homeless people set up, what became known as Sanctuary City in downtown Springfield. They lived in tents, first outside St. Michael’s Cathedral, then on land further up state street owned by the Open Pantry. Many didn’t feel safe at the city’s shelter on Worthington Street. Michaelann Bewsee is the director of Arise for Social Justice. She says since 2004, the city has placed 274 people who were homeless into housing with supportive services, adding, “That’s 27 people a year and the shelters are still full. So, yea, it’s good for those 274 people, but they just keep coming because the conditions that create homelessness still exist, lack of affordable housing and lack of jobs that pay a decent wage. “
Over 400 homeless lived for a time in Sanctuary City. It operated for five months, breaking camp just as winter weather set in.