A member of the Brandeis facilities crew found a person dead outside of Sachar International Center on Nov. 23, Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations Julie Jette told The Brandeis Hoot in an email. The person was not a member of the Brandeis community, wrote Jette.
Jette said that the police were contacted immediately after the body was discovered. There has not been any identification of the individual yet; the deceased was male. Waltham Police believe that the deceased may have been a homeless person based on previous contact with the individual, according to Jette.
“Even though we do not know who this person was, we are deeply saddened by his passing,” said Jette.
The Hoot was notified of the incident through the Brandeis Police Department’s media log. The report read, “Sudden death investigation. Waltham and state authorities notified. Report composed.”
The homeless population in Waltham has been particularly affected in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Waltham has one overnight shelter, the Bristol Lodge, which has separate facilities for both men’s and women’s lodging, according to the homeless shelter directory page. The men’s lodging has 45 beds and has a 90-day stay limit, according to the Middlesex Human Services Agency. The Community Day Center in Waltham also offers programs for people who are experiencing homelessness during the day, however, they do not have overnight lodging.
“We are supposed to be locked down, and we have not been locked down,” Warren Parks, a man who had been staying in the Bristol Lodge’s Men’s Shelter, told Patch in April, regarding the stay-at-home advisory. “There’s no place for us to sit down and recuperate or get warm. Businesses are closed, and restaurants don’t like us. I understand why.”
People who have experience with homelessness and a coalition of advocates for people experiencing homelessness sent a letter to Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy on Oct. 2 calling on her to increase access to public bathrooms for Waltham’s homeless population during the pandemic. Bristol Lodge’s men’s and women’s shelters provide bathrooms for guests from 4 p.m. until the morning, but for more than eight hours there are few public bathroom options for the homeless in Waltham, according to Patch.
McCarthy responded to the request by saying that the Community Day Center, a day shelter and community center in Waltham, would be given around $400 thousand to “create extra space and a warming center.” The Community Day Center offers people who are experiencing homelessness meals, clothing, personal hygiene products, programs for referrals and services and workshops for positive lifestyle choices, according to their website. The center serves over 40 people daily and serves over nine thousand meals annually.
The Waltham Police told The Hoot that they did not have any additional information on the deceased.