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Residents of Fall River homeless encampments being removed by State of Massachusetts



An issue that has been a prominent discussion in the City of Fall River is the homeless encampments. Today those living in them are being removed.

According to Homeless Outreach Coordinator and Fall River Addiction, Support, and Treatment Team member Nichole Fontaine, the rumored removal of the homeless residents began on Thursday.

“The state is closing them. The city has had multiple meetings to come up with solutions.”

Fall River Reporter asked Fontaine where the people in the encampments are being relocated to and had not received a response as of this writing.

The Timao Center, known to many homeless residents in Fall River as the only overflow shelter during the winter months, closed its Drop-In Center indefinitely in March.

Funding through the Cares Act and additional ARPA funding ran out to operate the Timao Center leaving the First Step Inn which offers a place for the homeless to sleep.

The camps have long brought division between city residents with some pointing out the crimes and fires that have taken place in the camps while others feeling that those that aren’t comfortable in shelters or have no other place to stay, need a place to go. Some of the homeless have also been unwilling to get help.

According to FRCMedia through Fontaine, 145 homeless were counted earlier this year in Fall River up from 104 in 2023. The FAST team placed approximately 100 individuals into housing or drug or mental health treatment facilities in the past year.

The major encampments in the city have been located at Brayton Avenue, the Alfred Lima Quequechan Rail Trail, and near the intersection at Middle and Bay Streets.



  1. C

    May 2, 2024 at 3:45 pm

    I’m afraid to walk the trails in fall river because of the encampments.Something beautiful for the area but not safe.

    • jordy

      May 3, 2024 at 7:10 am

      exactly what a relief!!

  2. Jeffrey A Medeiros

    May 2, 2024 at 3:59 pm

    First Step Inn houses I believe 12 to 20 homeless, we have 145 by the count so we have 125 US citizens who will find a new outdoor area while illegal aliens are housed in hotels…something wrong with this picture ??

    • David Springer

      May 2, 2024 at 5:40 pm

      You brought up some very valid points. I have dealt with homeless individuals most of my life due to my employment.i just don’t understand why they resist help.

      • Seen a Lot

        May 3, 2024 at 5:38 am

        Because according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. 31% of the homeless population have serious mental illness. Ad 24% more with chronic substance abuse, A you now have your answers. 50 years ago, the Government started to cut funding for mental health, and started closing hospitals who specialized in these services. ( We had an hospital in Taunton) Including general services. Every Administration after that ( Republican and Democrat)… keep cutting funds, this is one reason why we are where we are now. In our area, they gave them voucher to find an apt.” How do I know, because, I had 5 of them in 1 room apt. On Bank Street, up from the old police station “.. with a small check to buy food each month, they turned them out to the streets. And forgot about them.
        It didn’t happen overnight, it won’t be solved overnight. It will take a generational plan and money $$ to solve.. With support by both parties..

        • Shirley Balboni

          May 3, 2024 at 3:40 pm

          I completely agree with everything you’re saying 😊

        • J R

          May 6, 2024 at 5:50 pm

          Absolutely they have closed many of the agencies and hospitals. Problem was not just financial it was the inhumane treatments as well. We need to look out side the box for a change. Not band aide fixes. There have been many suggestions from organizations such as UIA , YMCA workers and volunteers, churches, many others . For example creating housing with wrap around services for these folks. Remember not all homeless are subsistence abusers, or have mental health problems. There are those who have become homeless due to illness, loss of income and much more. It’s hard to get out of that hole once somebody has fallen in. Many do give up hope because of all the road blocks they face day to day. So many cope by ending up self medicated and or alcoholic. This is the tip of the ice berg people open your eyes.

      • Stefan michaud

        May 3, 2024 at 11:03 am

        Because they’re not the sort of people who are good at following rules, and many if not most shelters have rigid and inflexible rules. They tell you when to get up, when to leave, when to return, and when to go to bed. Some even make you pray to get a meal. No dogs, no smoking, no drugs or drinking. Many would rather sleep in the woods.

      • G

        May 3, 2024 at 2:25 pm

        They don’t want”that” kind of help because your stored off being a human in allot of cases. You have to be here group meetings, that bring up topics some people don’t want to talk about. Your forced to keep taking tests and if you don’t pass your kicked out and have to start over. You have to be in by a certain time and it in the morning by certain times. You have to pitch in all your food stamps, all your benefits, you have to live and share all and I mean all your personal space with everyone in the building. It’s very restrictive and invasive of personal things. You literally lose your self respect in some of those places.

      • Shirley Balboni

        May 3, 2024 at 3:38 pm

        I’ll give you that!!! Im not even talking about an immigrant or not, nothing to do with Politics.It should be the American Citizens who get these places to live. First the Veterans, next Elderly and Disabled , people with children. If you were born here and you are homeless, you should always come first as American citizens. Like I said, I have much empathy. I have since childhood but I’m sorry, I have to draw the line somewhere and I’m sorry but we shouldn’t have homeless Americans. If there weren’t so many immigrants , especially the illegal immigrants coming first. No way in hell do I agree with that.My husband and I along with our Mini Aussie Shepard were homeless for almost a year. We slept in the back of our Jeep in a B.K. rest stop for the last 4 months because the engine went in the Jeep.We would drive and park at Walmart. It was safe. Thank God & my hubby, he found us a small 2 bedroom in Fall River.

    • Ann Johannsen

      May 2, 2024 at 9:25 pm

      I have a family member who has just gotten her voucher and now has located a place but has nowhere to live until all the red tape is done and there is no help for her!! She only needs a safe bed for a couple of weeks maybe less and I have called everywhere and there is no help! So she is sleeping in a car(not safe but what else can she do?) She does refuse help – there is NO help!! Sad, really sad!

      • Tammy Bishop

        May 3, 2024 at 7:22 am

        If she is a family member and its only for 2 weeks, why isn’t she sleeping under your roof. Family is suppose to be there no matter what

        • Gavin Shaw Lepoer

          May 3, 2024 at 8:17 am

          Exactly!!! She must be a real peach if family won’t let her stay for a week. I know a lot of homeless, they are lazy bums that want money for nothing. They want to be able to have 30 ” friends” over and throw trash all over do drugs . Let them live in the woods.

          • Michael Donley

            May 3, 2024 at 2:54 pm

            They have already seen this movie multiple times

        • Shirley Balboni

          May 3, 2024 at 3:56 pm

          That’s true, why isn’t she staying with you? Family is supposed to be there for Family but I would ask a friend first. I let my younger brother(May he R.I.P.🌹❤️🙏)live with me three times in 30yrs.,my son Jesse came home to live with 3 dogs, one being pregnant. She had 8.He found out he had cancer and he was living in a dirty garage with an open wound from his surgery by the time I was told. I’ve let friends stay here if they are in a bad place. We are in our 50’s so we hope…no more boarders. I’m sure the grandchildren would never get turned away😊❤️❤️❤️

    • Jessica Arnold

      May 3, 2024 at 3:32 pm

      That is the truth just like they can get loans for small businesses and funds and grants but no actual help for the residents of fall river I used to be one of those people …and there was no help anywhere for us thank God I didn’t need it …I did it on my own ..but some people can’t

    • Kenneth Tripp

      May 4, 2024 at 8:34 am

      Great comment 💯 Jeffrey, I couldn’t agree with you more!!! It’s unbelievable that our local, State and Federal Leadership has turned its back on our own homeless population, especially our homeless Veterans

    • Helen

      May 4, 2024 at 1:02 pm

      Exactly sick government 😒

  3. Pierre R Messier

    May 2, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    It’s about time I live on the lake and have gone by while fishing seeing someone s*** in the water by the encampment by the highway, and the other garbage in the water is another thing. I’m sure it’s not sanitary or safe.

  4. Serpa Louis

    May 2, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    I would have take. The millions this city got and wasted and used the watuppa heights property to build a tiny home set up

    Offer these places to homeless and vets with rules in place

    Then try to find permanent places for these people

    • Nicholas J. Soule

      May 3, 2024 at 7:53 am

      I think it’s time to set up an official camp, where people can stay with simple rules/registration, residents can have bathroom/shower facilities, a mailing address, and possible cameras for safety. Then you can legally remove them from unwanted locations, while providing a safe place that anyone would qualify for.

  5. Mike

    May 2, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    They better be getting these people housing or else the encampments will just pop back up again.

    • Alyson

      May 3, 2024 at 4:20 pm

      They aren’t giving anyone housing. They just passed a law in massachusetts that families in shelters can only be in a shelter for 9 months. 9 months may seem like a long time but when you are trying to turn your life around and don’t have good credit and high income, God forbid an eviction and anywhere low income has waitlists that are years long and there are no vouchers being given out for years, it’s nearly impossible to find a place to live.

  6. Patricia Nicolau

    May 3, 2024 at 3:47 am

    This country is not the country it used to be. It’s all about money. It makes me sick just knowing what their doing to these people. This is the richest country.Where’s all the money going. Gee,I wonder 🤔

    • Dere

      May 3, 2024 at 1:32 pm

      In the politician’s pocket with the lottery, and marijuana sales where is it going,?

  7. Brit tany

    May 3, 2024 at 5:40 am

    More people will become homeless as our economy continues to crumble. Everyone on here who complaining about the inconvenience homeless people bring to “your” area should really open their eyes and see how close they are to that same situation. And because we have such a poor excuse of a governor…. Healey…. there’s little to no help for homeless Americans.
    People need to gather together and help their neighbors with their own 2 hands instead of expecting a corrupt government to do it for them.

    • Randall

      May 3, 2024 at 8:23 am

      Hav them come here for a few..I hav helped the shelter..5088406877

    • Shirley Balboni

      May 3, 2024 at 4:07 pm

      That’s how it is where I live.We live in 4 Apt. Double Decker. Two Apts on both floors. We live in one of the bottom Apts. We have for 12yrs and our upstairs neighbors are awesome. We’re all like family.

    • Sandra f

      May 3, 2024 at 8:32 pm

      I honestly believe the government wants us to fail.
      They’re out there to help themselves, not the people.

  8. Heimdall Vidar

    May 3, 2024 at 8:14 am

    It’s good that this is happening BUT there needs to be a good plan in place for the homeless. We can’t just move the problem to another community.

  9. Domi H.

    May 3, 2024 at 8:45 am

    One thing I am sure about it is homeless are very dangers for the good people who work very hard to have a place to sleep.

    • Stefan michaud

      May 3, 2024 at 12:48 pm

      I suspect that the homeless are assaulted by the comfortably housed as often, if not more so, than vice versa.

  10. Barrack Warren

    May 3, 2024 at 10:12 am

    Fall River should raise taxes a small amount to provide housing, healthcare, and additional services to newly arrived Americans as well as those living in these substandard spaces.

    For a few pennies on the dollar we could make a world of difference to those in need.

    • Hi

      May 4, 2024 at 8:14 am

      Maybe you should house those newly arrived Americans and let them sucks all you funding

  11. Bernard Giroux

    May 3, 2024 at 10:55 am

    This is as scourge on the community. They use public funds; they use the hospitals; they tie up resources which could be used elsewhere. Whatever happened to programs such a FDR had: the WPA. .the CCC……..put these folks to work. The Fall River Freetown State Forest needs immediate attention: fire lanes need to be re-opened. the draft ponds need to be cleaned and rebuilt; the trails need to be opened and cut and the forest fire fuel needs to be cut, stacked and cleaned out. Will that hard work kill anyone?

  12. Rick Kelley

    May 3, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    Why not build a campground for them or use the empty building next to Walmart for a shelter. It’s big enough for all the campsites in the city. Then they would be safe from the elements. There are restrooms and showers in there. Just some possible solutions.

  13. Sean j

    May 3, 2024 at 4:05 pm

    You guys don’t understand it’s about votes and money

  14. Daniel

    May 3, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    I’d like to see some of these politicians homeless and see how they like it At least their minding their own business.

    • Frank Jackson

      May 3, 2024 at 6:01 pm

      DEPORT ALL THE ILLEGAL ALIENS. This crap of someone from Venezuela or wherever getting shelter, food and medical services before an American citizen is BS. But that’s what happens when you have a senile doddering old fool for President.

  15. Michelle

    May 4, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    First and foremost we are talking about human beings. I won’t leave my dogs out all night because I love them too much. I understand both sides of the coin and I feel you all have great points. We need a program that starts getting our homeless housed, helping them find jobs and being productive members of society. We all need structure and if they are unable to abide by the restrictions then they’re needs to be a specific place they can live. Help those that want it. Our country is so rich and we can’t or won’t help our veterans, elderly, families, get their basic needs met. That’s just all kinds of wrong.

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