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John Wilson AIA










Task Force to End Homelessness Revival Meeting
February 3, 2013

30 Foster St. Newtonville MA

Present: John Wilson, Nancy Sullivan, Peggy Kutcher, Howard Kramer, Andrea Morton, Robert Pasersky, Gail Sullivan, Neal Mongold, Sho-Ping Chin, Mike McHugh, Steve Rosenthal, David Pearson

Not Present: Dennis Grudkowski, Brigid Williams Maria Klein, Joshua Barnett

The meeting began with brief introductions:

Nancy Sullivan, with a background in marketing for several architectural firms in Boston, joined the Task Force to End Homelessness (TF) in the mid-80s. Local press had begun to pay attention to the increased number of people living on Boston’s streets as a result of the 1982 recession. She worked with John Wilson and TF architects to gain recognition at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and to link the efforts of the TF with those of non-profits serving the homeless (Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program [BHCHP], Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless [MCH], Jane Doe Inc., and many others) and with the City of Boston’s Emergerncy Shelter Commission.

Peggy Kutcher also joined the TF in the mid-80s. She had been working as a marketing professional for an architectural firm that did low-income, public housing projects and she was an activist on social issues. Peggy worked on the TF’s first publication, ”The guide to Donating and Volunteering in Boston Area Shelters”. She became involved with Brookview House, a non-profit that provided transitional housing for women and their children. She continued her interest in trying to break the cycle of generational homelessness, abuse and poverty, becoming Board President of Brookview House. She is currently the Board president of Food For Free, a non-profit that distributes donated food from restaurants to shelters and food pantries in Cambridge.

Howard Kramer, MD, PhD, an undergraduate classmate and long-time friend of John Wilson got involved in this group in an attempt to help John organize and find a suitable home for his Task Force for Homelessness (TF) archive and to put it into an accessible and tangible form.

Andrea Morton is an architect and she got involved with the TF in 1995 right after finishing architecture school. The TF gave her a realistic picture of how very low income or no income people were living, and the experience was pivotal for her career going forward. For the TF, Andrea made site visits to many neighborhoods in Boston to help determine the feasibility of providing pro bono planning and architectural services to local non-profits.

Robert Pasersky is an architect at Payette’s office who has done a lot of pro-bono work over the years.

Gail Sullivan founded a coalition to help battered women with transitional housing for women in Cambridge. Following her graduation from architecture school, she founded Gail Sullivan Associates, a firm that, for over 20 years, focused on socially responsible architecture and did a great deal of pro bono work. She is currently a member of Studio G Architects, a collaborative with a strong focus on building sustainable communities.

Neal Mongold, after finishing architecture school, became involved with Architects for Social Responsibility (ASR) and volunteered with Urban Edge (a developer of low-income housing) and with Rosie’s place (one of the first day shelter programs for women in Boston). Over the years, Neal has donated many hours of planning and architectural services to the TF and to non-profits. He is a partner at Narrowgate, an architecture firm focused on affordable housing and community-based housing.

Sho-Ping Chin is a partner with Payette Associates, focused on healthcare. She has been involved with Sustainable Health Care for Haiti, providing pro-bono services for the construction of a new children’s hospital there. She also worked on one of Payette’projects, the Barbara McGuiness House for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). This project provided 102 beds for seriously ill homeless men and women with complex conditions. These are patients who require long recovery times and/or continuing medical attention for successful outcomes.

Mike McHugh had been a long-time volunteer and co-chair with the TF when, as John Wilson moved toward retirement, the TF needed new leadership. Mike assumed that responsibility. He had been working with the Boston Chapter of a national organization, Architecture for Humanity (AfH). In 2005, the TF was folded into AfH and Mike became leader of the Boston Chapter (AfHB). He is the primary contact for the TF. The AfHB chapter has drawn the interest and participation of many architectural students and graduates in the Boston area and has completed many projects at home and abroad.

Steve Rosenthal is an architect and architectural photographer whose main interest in bringing together people who have been active in the TF over the years was to help John Wilson, his long-time friend, document the work of the TF. This will, hopefully, make it accessible to anyone interested in previous efforts of architects and other members of the design and construction industries involved in homeless issues. This will be in the form of a self-published book or booklet and an on-line presence. It is his hope that others will continue to take this forward.

David Pearson was homeless when he arrived at Project Place where he was asked to help students learn computer skills, eventually developing a computer lab there. This work was supported by the law office of Hale and Dorr and was formalized as Shawmut Education Inc., an entity to empower homeless and formerly homeless people though the development of computer skills.

John Wilson, a retired partner at Payette Associates. is the founder of the Task Force to End Homelessness. In 1997 he was awarded the prestigious Whitney M. Young Jr. Award by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This award recognized him nationally for being “a committed and strong advocate in his pursuit in the fight against homelessness…It is already clear that his legacy will live on in addressing the critical issues facing our cities.” John’s passion and compassion have been the most important energies in the history of the TF. It is hoped that documenting the work of the TF – and recognizing John’s role in promoting the value of his profession’s donated services – will be a way to acknowledge his long-time commitment to helping people who are not able to reach the goal of permanent housing for themselves and their families.

Thoughts/suggestions put forward during the meeting:

We need to get all the existing materials together including what is already up online so we can start thinking about putting together the summary booklet and develop a website. David Pearson says that there already is a website with a lot of resources on it. He will report on what is on the site.

We need to find the book “Search for Shelter” and scan the contents to put online. The “Guide to Donating” book has already been scanned as by Payette’s office and sent to everyone as a PDF attachment by Sho-Ping.

The ”Guide to Donating and Volunteering in Boston Area Shelters and Food Service Programs” needs to be updated and coordinated with other online guides that already exist such as possibly ABCD. This is a huge undertaking.

We need to make a good faith effort to find the photographers who took the photos used on the postcards that John produced years ago. They are very powerful and could be a strong component of an exhibit. Apparently, permission was obtained at the time.

We should try to get grants to support the publication of a booklet pulling the archive together so that it might be handed out for free or at a very reduced cost at a booth at ABx (formerly Build Boston), at the BSA, City Hall, through non-profit agencies, and elsewhere. Gail said that the BSA itself is no longer giving out grants as all of that is being done now through the Foundation for Architecture.

We should try to get an exhibit at the BSA, perhaps in a conference room, and if we plan an “announcement” event/meeting, we might contact Dr Jim O”Connell, President of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) to speak about the services provided to them by the TF and Payette Associates.

We should establish a connection with YouthBuild Boston and/orUSA (Dorothy Stoneman in Somerville)..


Nancy volunteered to try to locate postcard photographers (or their reps) to make sure that we have their permission to use their images on the postcards. She will contact ABCD to see what else is out there for databases. She will also compile a list of other relevant sites that we can list on ours and ask them to place a link on their site to ours.

Gail and Sho-Ping will explore the relationship with the BSA, and how we might interface with them. Sho-Ping will talk with Rene Loth ( Editor of ArchitectureBoston) and propose an article if not a whole issue on this topic. She will also see if we can have a booth made available to us at ABx in November. She will also explore the possibility of an exhibit at the BSA space.

Peggy knows how to reach Richard Fitzgerald and will let him know what we are doing.

David will send the link to his site with 10 days.

Everyone is encouraged to write a paragraph about how you initially got involved with TFTEH and what it meant to you, what effect it had on what you are doing now. Excerpts from these will be interspersed throughout the booklet. It would be good to also get comments from people and institutions affected.

If you would like to add tasks to the list or volunteer for one of the ones above, please don’t hesitate.


TF Task Force to End Homelessness
BSA Boston Society of Architects
AIA American Institute of Architects
AfH Architects for Humanity
AfHB Architects for Humanity Boston
ADPSR Architects/Designers for Social Responsibility (formerly ASR)
BHCP Boston Health care for the Homeless Program
MCH Mass Coalition for the Homeless
ABCD Action for Boston Community Development
GBLS Greater Boston Legal Services
VLP Volunteer Lawyers Program