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More housing, services as Boston tries to shrink Mass and Cass; plan will include new 'day centers' in other neighborhoods

Mayor Wu today announced the city's "warm weather" plan to deal with Mass and Cass: Basically, more services decentralized across the city, with transportation to get people from the troubled intersection to new "day centers" in other neighborhoods.

At a City Hall press conference, Wu said an earlier program to remove tents at the heart of Methadone Mile has gotten some 200 people into safe "low threshold" housing.

She said the city will continue to remove tents - from both Mass and Cass and elsewhere in the city - but that this would be coupled with outreach efforts to get people into care and safer spaces. This will include 24/7 outreach work in areas where encampments might otherwise spring up. At the same time, the city is stepping up street cleaning in the Mass/Cass area and taking other steps, even down to new crosswalk striping, to improve Mass and Cass - along with increased police patrols.

Wu said the city will use vans to transport people to centers in other parts of the city where they can get help away from the Mass and Cass environment.

Boston Public Health Commission Executive Director Bisola Ojikutu said this would both help decrease the number of people at Mass and Cass and better reach people near where they live. She added that an existing "engagement center" at Mass and Cass will be expanded from its current medical services to outreach programs to help get people into programs. However, she added it will not become a place for people to congregate.

The centers will be staffed by a variety of clinical and social workers specializing in harm reduction, case management, legal issues related to probation and re-entry to society and some medical issues. She said the city recently issued an RFP to providers, so she does not yet know where these new centers would be. She said she expects to have proposed sites in about a month.

She said that Shattuck Hospital, where the state installed a number of temporary housing units, will continue to be important to efforts to help get people out of addiction, both through the addition of acute-care services and through the creation of "low threshold" housing.

She added that the city is continuing to maintain and repair buildings on Long Island so that it can eventually be re-opened as a treatment services campus once the city can figure out how to get people to and from the site. The city wants to rebuild the former bridge to the island; a plan that the city of Quincy, through which the roads to the bridge run, has fought tooth and nail.

BPD Deputy Superintendent Peter Messina said that along with added services, police have stepped up patrols in Mass and Cass to try to crack down on drug dealers and human traffickers. He said that between May 17 and yesterday afternoon, BPD made 16 arrests and issued 24 court summonses for drug sales and sex for fee. But he acknowledge it's challenging: He said one arrest was of a man found with 131 grams of fentanyl, five bags of amphetamines, two bags of crack and a realistic-looking pellet gun, whom he said told officers he was homeless and a drug addict himself and had tried recovery once, but didn't like it.

Warm Weather plan details.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

Decentralizing services isn’t the magic bullet, but it will go a long way to help. I’m happy Wu sees that & is thinking hard about solutions. Unlike certain previous mayors, cough.

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Voting closed 33

Agreed that decentralizing services is a long-overdue step, however I'd argue this is where the Governor needs to step in. It's beyond absurd that Boston should be forced to deal with & house everyone at Mass & Cass since we know 70% aren't from Boston. This is a REGIONAL problem and requires regional treatment solutions.

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Voting closed 57

I want to hear some of the candidates for Governor address this.

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Voting closed 12

WHICH neighborhoods and where?

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Voting closed 31

In your backyard.

Right by the bike lanes, of course.

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Voting closed 42

.

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Your suburb? Or is it just a Boston thing?

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Voting closed 28

As someone noted above, this is really where it would benefit people a lot for Charlie Baker to step in and help coordinate with mayors of a bunch of cities/towns in the area. And heck, probably with the other governors in New England, while we're at it.

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Voting closed 30

do you really think it’s defensible to get all NIMBY about possible solutions? I know you don’t like Swrrly but I can’t see where they are wrong here.

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It's easy to decry those who don't want services in their neighborhood of Boston when one doesn't live in Boston. It's like how that state senator from Belmont wants there to be locations where one can safely shoot up heroin, but you know Belmont won't have one of the locations.

It's nothing against Swirly per se. She's just one of the many suburbanites here who want to dictate how Boston is run. I'm okay with services being in my neck of the woods, but I have an issue with Boston shouldering the burden of a regional problem.

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Voting closed 18

Lol parts of Medford are closer to gov center and downtown than any part of readville. The way "suburbs" is defined in this area is insane. Brookline really did everybody dirty when they stopped the natural course of Boston eating all the smaller surrounding townships to become a normal sized city.

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Yet somehow they are able to shut out the problems of the city.

Did you know that Medford has a beach that is only accessible to residents of Medford? That's a classic example of "we're not in Boston anymore."

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I really can't detect any impact of the shelters in the neighborhood or park whatsoever. Take your NIMBY bullshit and shove it.

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Voting closed 19

I mean, I've only been in the park once this spring, but I was curious to see if there was any impact of the shelters. Honestly, the old shelter was more noticeable back in the day, and even that wasn't too bad.

That said, the reality is that some neighborhoods are okay with others getting the burden. Spread all of this around to make things better for all.

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The poor neighborhoods and only the poor neighborhoods...

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That folks who grew up in households opposed to bussing in the 70's will find reason to oppose these day centers as well smh

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Stop rehabS from bussing people to BPHC Paths program to get placed,.Clients in N.H., Worcester, Framingham, Greenfield,all over Ma. offer clients rides to Boston to get placed. Clients end up on Mass Ave. Day Shelters congregate addicts dealers and sex traffickes.Stand outside the St. Francis House and watch the registered sex offenders walking over to TBE Frog Pond to look at the kiddies. People come to Boston for Mass Health, and housing, believe it. Wu will have this in your neighborhood, not hers, just like protesters.

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Voting closed 2