Lawrence Mayor Claims Volunteer Group Feeding the Homeless Violated Agreement – Videos Shows Otherwise

Photo: Jonathan Stevens



“If Dan Rivera isn’t interested in feeding the homeless in Lawrence or helping them make their lives better, that’s fine. I just wish he would stop getting in the way of people who are willing to do his job for him at no cost.”

~ Valley Patriot Publisher Tom Duggan 

Nov. 28 ,2018

Nearly 24 hours after giving the order to shut down TMF’s Family dinner for the homeless one night a week at the Buckely Garage on Common Street, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is now trying claim that he shut down the homeless dinners because the volunteer group running the meals violated an agreement with the city.

No agreement was violated. 

“In Lawrence, there are at least three locations where people can eat hot meals with dignity every day; Cor Unum Meal Center, Bread & Roses, and Good Shepard Center,” the mayor said in a press release after a day of dodging questions from the local media. 

“We have many shelters for men, women and children, who for many reasons find themselves out in the cold; we welcome any community that wants to provide shelter for folks in the same way to do so. After months of supporting and allowing adhoc homeless sheltering and feeding, we have decided to disallow those activities at the Buckley Garage.”

The City of Lawrence has two homeless shelters open year round, The Daybreak Homeless shelter on Winter Street which is full to capacity with 55 homeless people every night, and Lazarus House on Holly Street which only accepts families and turns away individuals. 

“The only requirements we had for those uses [at the Buckley Garage] was that people cleaned up after themselves, did not use drugs at the Buckley, did not defecate or urinate in the building, or interfere with the normal business of the garage. They [TMF] did not live up to their side of the agreement and over time, have created a culture of fear and unsanitary conditions for daily patrons of the garage. Again, this is not about providing services to the homeless- we have organizations in place to do just that. This is about the orderly running of the Buckley garage.”

Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan has gone live on Facebook and broadcasted the Wednesday night dinners each week showing the conditions of the bus terminal. Duggan says that  he witnesses TMF volunteers cleaning up and making sure there were no needles, feces, or other problems at the station during the meal and after they left. 

“I was there every week. I even go back an hour after the dinner is over while I am Live on Facebook to check the conditions of the terminal. All those videos are still on line. These kids clean the bus station to the point where it is cleaner than when they got there.”

“The real problem here is that there are homeless people who sleep there every night. Some have trashed the place during the rest of the week when TMF isn’t even there. Dan is now using their bad behavior as an excuse to shut down TMF family dinner and if you ask me that’s pretty childish and deceitful. If the people sleeping there are the problem, how about finding a place for them? Why stop the family dinners once a week?” 

Duggan says there is no “culture of fear” during the Wednesday night dinners as Dan Rivera claims.

“Family dinner is one night a week and starts at 9PM, there are no members of the public in fear while waiting for a bus because the buses don’t run at 9pm. He is purposely blaming TMF for things that happen when TMF is not even there.”

“What’s worse is the hypocrisy of the excuses he gives,” Duggan continued.

‘On the one hand, Mayor Rivera supports illegal aliens coming to Lawrence, staying in Lawrence, and has no problem spending “needed resources” on those individuals who aren’t even supposed to be here. He rallied two years in a row on the common in support of illegal aliens and even spoke at one rally. Yet, on the other hand Rivera says he has no interest in helping the homeless because most of the homeless in the city are not actually from Lawrence. You cant have it both ways.

“If Dan Rivera isn’t interested in feeding the homeless in Lawrence or helping them make their lives better, that’s fine. I just wish he would stop getting in the way of people who are willing to do his job for him at no cost.”




The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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