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Janey outlaws tents, couples their removal with increased efforts to get their occupants into treatment and housing

Kim Janey

Acting Mayor Kim Janey today announced an executive order that aims to move people now creating tent cities at Mass and Cass and elsewhere in Boston into treatment and housing.

"To be clear, tents are not appropriate for housing," because they lack basic services and lead to infectious diseases, violence and human trafficking, Janey said at City Hall.

Tents and temporary shelters "are no longer to be permitted in the city of Boston," she said, adding the Boston Public Health Commission has declared an official "crisis" in the city because of the issue. She said street workers and first responders are already using Narcan to revive four to five people a day in the street.

"The work has already begun," she said, emphasizing that public health and care for the rights of the individuals involved will lead the work.

Janey said that, effective immediately, city social workers will try to get people out of tents and into programs. People who refuse to go will be moved only as a last resort, she said, adding that the city will work with the Suffolk County District Attorney's office and the court system to ensure that any such commitments are coupled with programs to get the people involved into treatment.

"Our capacity in our shelters is not at max," so there is room to get more people inside even as the city works to increase access to treatment, city Health and Human Services Chief Marty Martinez said. He echoed Janey that tents are just not a place for people to stay to try to get help out of addiction and other issues.

Janey emphasized she will also be working with the state, because addiction is a regional issue and many of the people at Mass and Cass are coming into Boston from other areas in the state and New England.

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Comments

"Officials said they will not try to 'criminalize' anybody who refuses to leave a tent."

So the plan is to ask super nicely for the people in tents to leave? And if they don't, then...?

I'm all for compassion, but since when did erecting a tent on a city sidewalk become something we had to tip-toe around? The city has available beds in nearby homeless shelters. As the Globe reported, there are also beds available at live-in treatment programs. You can't force people to do either, but you can force them out of a tent city that should never have been permitted to begin with.

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not that they won't confiscate the tents.

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Confiscating the only shelter people have been able to provide themselves in the face of systemic abandonment is utterly despicable.

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They haven’t provided their own shelter. They have just taken over public property that is meant to be shared by everyone. They should go back to whatever suburb they came from. I’m tired of Boston having to clean up the mess created by non Bostonians.

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As if their tent placement was a direct impediment to specific parcels of land which you were going to use for recreation upon either immediate or scheduled demand.

Borders are a cancer, and the destitute are victims of that cancer. Stop simping for the state. It's at best unhip.

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I've got to hand to whoever runs this satire account. It's very well done.

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That would be one hell of a long con.

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That's why I'm so impressed with the dedication to the bit.

I suppose a homeless drug addict ODing in a public park is really living the truest form of libertarianism though.

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Is admitting that they have a problem.

Their lot is not 100% the fault of others.

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The first step to not being a libertarian is to admit that you have a problem. Being a libertarian is not 100% the fault of Ayn Rand. Etc...

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The only argument that folks have against Libertarianism: An author from 70 years ago. I'll bet you make DMV and airline food jokes too.

Hell, I'll even make it easier for you: Someone in here astutely said not too long ago that the failing of Libertarianism is that is assumes that everyone is a rational actor all of the time, which simply isn't true. Bang. There's the argument against it.

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...people aren't rational actors all of the time, and when they aren't, the libertarian experiment ends in catastrophe.

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they are going to leave a trail of candy outside of the tent to lure the person out. Once they are out the tent is then tossed into the back of a truck.

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area worker/little birdie here. It’s as bad as it’s ever been, I’d say.

Watched three overdoses in progress in the past week and a half. Constantly get solicited for/offered “Johnnies”.

Ever watch a dopesick twelve year old barf on a city sidewalk?

Out of a very complex topic, it’s still hard for me to come to a conclusion other than, “Thanks, Marty.” Reaganesque levels of public health negligence.

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Is that an exaggeration? If not, jeez, that's messed up.

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Appoint a Mass and Cass Czar who will report directly to the Mayor, and live
within the Boston Public Health Commission.

A Fucking CZAR. How this doesn't win her the election I have no idea why. I've always wanted to be a Czar.

But I had an outside the box solution for Mass/Cass (that will never be implemented): Give every "resident" there a free prescription to the drug of their choice (Have a doctor evaluate the person). The drug is clean and hospital safe but here is the catch, you have to bring that prescription to different locations and use/be monitored there. These locations also vary across Boston, Massachusetts, New England. (Like Newton-Wellesley, Brockton Hospital, McCleans, etc) When you get to the dispensary location, other services will be offered (housing, food, jobs, treatment, etc). Now you have to see what happens to Mass/Cass. If it has emptied out, clean it up and start enforcing ordinances and continue to hand out prescriptions. You will need some transportation and other logistics, and you probably can't have one-way rides out to these places either, but the final action needs to be done, and it isn't going to look pretty or humane no matter how hard you try.

Not going to happen for various reasons I know, but this place will NEVER clean up with Wu or Georges plan that's for sure.

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As you say, your plan isn't foolproof, but at this point inaction is not an option.

File this next to my "Let's get the ferries running to Long Island" plan as something that would be a big step in the right direction.

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A model for what you're describing exists as Safe Injection Sites, which our US attorney has vowed to prosecute if enacted at any level (see: https://www.universalhub.com/2019/mass-general-create-mock-safe-injectio...)

It's a damn shame because this could actually save lives and ease the crisis. But, as long as the federal govt is locked up in the unwinnable so-called War On Drugs it's never going to happen.

EDIT: If DA Rollins is confirmed US Attorney all of the above may be out the window. Rollins has been supportive of movements towards safe injection sites in the past.

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One less Czar!

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Imagine if Janey had done this before the preliminary.

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She's got a month to do whatever she thinks is right, without having to worry about what people will say about her down the road. She may be a lame duck, but sometimes they make the decisions that people who want to get elected again fear to take.

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I think you might have it backwards; if Janey made a "tough on crime" move before the preliminary, she would have gained votes.

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I applaud Mayor Janey but I watched the eyes of the lowly police Lieutenant who had the look of a middle manager who knows he has been offered up a sacrificial lamb when the plan fails. Not one member of the police command staff showed up knowing the ACLU is getting ready to whip out subpoenas and serve any police commander involved in the removal of the residents of the misery mile. Many of the inhabitants of the mile are wanted felons and sex offenders who are barred from the shelters so good luck to the social workers who are armed with pencils and kevlar clipboards.

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Tents and temporary shelters "are no longer to be permitted in the city of Boston,"

You would think that would have happened before 2021.

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What is the basis for claiming that tents lead to human trafficking? That just doesn't really make sense.

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It seems like human trafficking gets rolled into a lot of statements about drug crises as we have been conditioned to see addicts as bad people with moral failings. Including human trafficking inserts a class of innocent victims who are there to be rescued, which is more readily sympathetic. Other than that, I don't believe there's a strong correlation between tent cities and human trafficking, if there's any at all.

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The dealers (men) want sex. The women (users) want drugs. The tent provides privacy. I was told by a correctional officer who has a clear view of Atkinson from the jail that it happens all the time.

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Then they'll (expletive) in an alley.

Time for Janey to brush up on Latin, because that conceit is the literal basis for the English word "fornication."

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I'm not asking whether human trafficking can be conducted in a tent, I'm asking how people sleeping in tents "leads to" human trafficking.

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you could also ask how living in a tent leads to violence.

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is now basically the concept of a male pimp owning girls and controlling them. The girls don’t necessarily get shipped across state lines in tractor trailers, they might just get brought from a house in Hyde Park to a tent in the South end in a Honda Civic for $100 a night.

You probably associate human trafficking with what happened in the movie “Taken” which is just a different form on a larger scale.

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The first few words were a quotation but the 2nd half was a paraphrase. She didn't directly say that tents cause those issues but rather that those issues were present in the tent encampment.

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Is it that easy to get housing right away once your tent gets foreclosed upon?

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This is atrocious. If you do not want people living in tents give them homes, don’t criminalize how people respond to being homeless take away the only (and yes insufficient) shelter they have been able to provide themselves in the context of systemic abandonment. Janey should be throughly ashamed. This cannot be let to stand.

There are policies that could eliminate this problem (like housing first) but this only punishes the homeless for being homeless and keeps them out of view of the wealthy.

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90% of the people down there can’t live in a “home” because they have already refused housing, or simply can’t live around others because of their criminal acts and their drug habits. They also can’t work because their lives revolve around drugs. Housing is a secondary issue for them.

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You know them and taking a guess or are you referencing something?

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From working with the homeless in different areas.

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The underlying principle of housing first is that it's a lot easier and more effective to deliver other services (such as psychiatric care, rehab, etc.) to people who are housed. The theory acknowledges that not everyone is capable of living in a "home" as most of us conceive of it -- that many need a high (and expensive) level of structure and supervision, but housing such people with the necessary structure and supervision is still more effective than leaving them out on the street and cheaper and more effective than imprisoning them.

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And the thing that's hard to figure out is that when municipalities or nonprofits are providing housing, they have some degree of responsibility for what goes on there.

But at the same time, yes, "housing first" does work a lot better than "turn your life around something something bootstraps and then we'll consider letting you come inside" -- Maslow's hierarchy of needs and all. But how do we safely and legally provide people with shelter who aren't currently in a place where they can follow all the rules of a housing program? With current policies, shelters and scattered site housing have a shitload more rules than any of the rest of us could ever follow. Many of the rules make it super hard to get any support either; there are rules about visitors, often even including "professional" helpers, and rules about no extra furniture even including people's only possessions in Rubbermaid bins or baby/child items. And we're taking people who we know are struggling, and making ridiculous rules where they have to comply with every single demand put on them in terms of participation in "services" that are often inappropriate and poorly run and kick them out for, well, being struggling people. Makes a lotta folks kinda want to, oh, go live in a tent.

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At least a strong number of the people living in tents there have a more harmful complication in their lives than homelessness. There are other places homeless people could be setting up tents, it seems like many of those who chose that area to do so happen to be prisoners of their own body's chemical dependence on certain drugs.

Letting them sleep in squalor in tents while they are slowly killed off by drugs they cannot escape or the elements is not a humane solution either.

I don't know how to fix these problems, if I did, I'd be trying to help. But I know that we cannot keep doing nothing about it and kicking the fix down the road.

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I don't know how to fix these problems,

Not necessarily a fix here, but renting a 100,000 seat stadium and charging people $100 a seat to watch the entire Sackler family ripped apart by wolves could help fund a few programs.

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to subject wolves to that.

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Use those.

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see it done any way: torn apart by wolves, destroyed by robot dogs with guns, boiled in oil, mummified in a giant food dehydrator, slowly fed into a dull-bladed wood chipper, staked out and drenched with honey to be devoured bit by bit by army ants.

They made a titanic fortune by shamelessly, sociopathically ruining hundreds of thousands of lives, and recently escaped justice with their tens of millions intact.

No hell is too foul for the Sacklers.

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There isn't remotely enough supportive housing in Boston for everyone who shows up to the Mile from across New England to use, deal, and hide out. Folks coming out of detox or the next step can get into the housing system. For everyone not going into treatment, you need to take away the incentive to be there or it will never get solved.

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Three weeks before you will be ushered out of your office. This whole thing screams of some kind of back room handshake between Janey and Wu. Expect to see Janey in the new administration with a substantial pay bump over her city council salary.

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At least she is trying something. Leaving the area as is hasn’t been working out.

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or did her executive order have more nuance than that?

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I believe it specifically applied to public properties. Now, does this apply to the Harbor Islands?

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on private property, but not on public. :-)

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If you bother to check, I think you'll find that most cities and towns are fine with your kids setting up a tent to play in in the back yard, but frown on using tents in yards as permanent or semi-permanent housing. Airbnb wouldn't like it...

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when I'm on a camping trip, then?

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