Mayor Orders Police to Throw Homeless Out of Buckley Garage, Shuts Down Group That Fed and Serviced the Homeless

Despite Proof That Photos of Garbage and Needles Were Not from TMF, Rivera Doubles Down


For the past 6 months a volunteer group of teens and young people from Lawrence called “The Movement Family” (TMF) have been serving a family style dinner to the homeless at the Buckley Garage on Common Street. 

The group, run by 26-year-old Michael Gorman, gets food donations from local restaurants, eateries, home cooked food from volunteer residents, serves a family style dinner, and then has his group clean the bus terminal when the dinner is over, leaving it far cleaner than when they arrived. 


In the six months that TMF  has been serving family dinners to the homeless they have served meals to hundreds of homeless people, while also offering them services to help them get out of their situation.

RIVERA-MADNow, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera has ordered police to stop the family dinners for the homeless on Wednesday nights, and as of tonight (Tuesday) has ordered police to remove all the homeless people who sleep at the garage. 

On an average night there are a dozen or more people who sleep at the Buckley bus terminal. The Daybreak homeless shelter on Winter Street is at capacity every night filling 55 beds for the homeless. Daybreak is the only homeless shelter in the city. There are an estimated 200-250 homeless people in Lawrence. 

The mayor’s move against the homeless came after a worker at the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) posted photos of garbage and dirty heroin needles at the Buckley Garage on his Facebook page.

He did so to protest the conditions he had to work in every day. 

Photos of garbage at the MVRTA were not taken after TMF's Family Dinner
Photos of garbage at the MVRTA were not taken after TMF’s Family Dinner

But, someone showed those photos to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, claiming that they were from the Wednesday night TMF family dinner for the homeless in order to get him to shut down the volunteer group.

At first, the Mayor believed the story and ordered police to shut down TMF, a group of mainly Hispanic at-risk teenagers trying to help the community. 

The Valley Patriot sent the mayor proof that the photos of garbage and dirty needles posted on Facebook were actually taken this Monday morning – and not the result of the Wednesday night TMF dinners for the homeless. But,  instead of reversing his decision – Rivera ordered police to throw the homeless out of the garage  completely and reaffirmed his order to stop TMF from feeding the homeless there one night a week.

Police are expected to carry out that order at 9pm Tuesday night (tonight). 

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is a Democrat. 

michael TMF “I’m disappointed that we have been doing this Bus station since April and not once has the Mayor come to see the foundation that we built there,” said TMF founder Michael Gorman of North Andover.

  “It’s more than just a dinner. We had Tewksbury Detox coming weekly to get individuals beds. We had a methadone clinic table, donations table, Narcan table, prayer table etc.. This wasn’t just a pick up your food and see you next week. We were building a family environment and displaying how important it is to never give up, and to keep the hope alive.”

Gorman said that most TMF members come from tough situations at home and having them experience giving back to their community was invaluable to at risk kids in Lawrence.

“This was their escape. They were understanding love, guidance, and acceptance.”

Asked how he felt after getting the news that the mayor was shutting down TMF family dinner Wednesday nights.

“I guess disappointed would be the best word.”

He added, “Its not your city Mayor Rivera. Its our city. What happened to working together?”

Several other homeless organizations have said that Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera has been hostile to their efforts to help the homeless and has blocked several organizations from getting more transitional housing for the homeless to help get them back on their feet. He has also blocked Daybreak’s efforts to get a new building somewhere in the city. 

The Valley Patriot gave Lawrence Mayor Rivera a chance to comment on this story but he declined to answer prior to publication. 


Last year, Mayor Rivera was heralded for closing down “tent city” under the central bridge where homeless people had created a criminal enterprise of selling drugs, facilitating prostitution, and harboring fugitives from the law. 

At the time, Rivera told the Valley Patriot that he had no interest in helping the homeless in Lawrence because “most of them are not from the city” adding that he had limited resources to help Lawrence residents and that he was not going to take needed resources away from them to help homeless people from other communities. 


Lawrence is considered one of the poorest communities in New England.


11 Responses to "Mayor Orders Police to Throw Homeless Out of Buckley Garage, Shuts Down Group That Fed and Serviced the Homeless"

  1. Frances   November 27, 2018 at 8:14 PM

    It is discussing that our city leader can careless of another human. It is so disappointing not even knowing their situations or trying to help the cities homeless people. I would love to see some of these politicians change shoes with a homeless person just for 24 hour in the winter.

  2. Renee Silva   November 27, 2018 at 8:22 PM

    Please, these people need help. Dont do this. Everyone has worked so very hard trying to care for them. It is not humane . These people will now suffer even more, due to your decision. Please reconsider?

  3. Deb   November 27, 2018 at 8:33 PM

    This young adult is doing something good for the homeless. Why stop it. Stop kissing up to Warren and the other political groups. Open your eyes keep it going

    • Cindy Ward   November 27, 2018 at 9:04 PM

      This is very disheartening to read. This is a wonderful program run by wonderful men. Shame on the mayor.

  4. Michael Kae   November 27, 2018 at 9:47 PM

    WOW ” most of them are not from the city” but Lawrence is a self proclaimed sanctuary city Dan. We don’t do anything about those here illegally but shaft the downtrodden. Maybe if we went through the housing authority and removed non citizens, or disqualify non citizens from programs there would be room at his majesties table for those who have fallen on hard times.

  5. Christina   November 27, 2018 at 11:46 PM

    It’s heartbreaking that there are people out there trying to help others and leaders are shutting it down. These people have no where to go. Continuously closing down areas where they can receive food and maybe a hope for treatment is pushing them to go where? Crime will go up for sure, especially in Lawrence, when they have no where else to turn. Wake up. Awful mayor! I work with children and families and people WANT to help and lend a helping hand but the mayor is shutting it down. Absolutely disheartening.

  6. Jackie   November 28, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    So this is my concern even if the homeless isn’t from our community your still takeing a good meal out of that person’s mouth. You emply that you want the community to be together but your pushing the community to be hateful against one another instead of brining the togetherness and bringing the limited resources that Lawrence has in order to help out make sure thay you practice what you preach because that togetherness that you say that you would like for the community to have starts with you. So instead of removing a good meal from a person’s mouth why not figure out a way to construct a place for the homeless regardless of where they are to go so they feel safe and feel that they can get the help they need.

  7. Brendan O'Neil   November 28, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Laughed at “Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is a Democrat” like ok? irrelevant but sure. you need to clean up after yourself simple as that…for TMF just find a new spot

  8. Tom Duggan   November 28, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    no it’s not irrelevant at all given how I am lectured every day about how DEMOCRATS care about “pooooooor people” and how dems campaign on the backs of the downtrodden” and how all the republicans are EVILLLL cold hearted bastards…. its completely relevant

  9. Al Belanger   November 28, 2018 at 3:55 PM

    What’s he gonna do when the caravans arrive. He will have thousands of homeless people .Part of being a sanctuary city. Move the meal to city Hall I’m sure they have a room and will be willing to give you a key. Can’t even handle the 250 people he has that are homeless. Not from the city no shit they are from nowhere they are homeless. This is what the Republicans are talking about help us first. Then if we can we help others.

  10. Pingback: Lawrence Mayor Claims Volunteer Group Feeding the Homeless Violated Agreement – Videos Shows Otherwise | The Valley Patriot