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Wu says state needs to build 1,000 beds for addicts outside Boston to relieve pressure on Mass and Cass and Clifford Park

Wu with some anti-vaxxers behind her

Wu tries to talk as former anti-vax protesters bellow behind her.

Standing in needle-strewn Clifford Park this morning, Mayor Wu called on the state to do more to relieve pressure on Mass and Cass, in a press conference cut short by screaming protesters who used to follow her around banging buckets over her Covid-19 policies but who had to find something else with which to fill their days now that nobody cares about them anymore.

The former anti-vaxxers who now profess a deep concern over Mass and Cass stood a few feet behind Wu, separated only by a phalanx of Boston cops, screaming their old "Shame on Wu!" refrain, before Wu ended her press conference to speak to people who have actually spent years futilely protesting conditions in Clifford Park, where kids just out to play have to worry about getting jabbed with the discarded needles that keep getting tossed there.

Wu started what was supposed to be an update on Mass and Cass by acknowledging the work of cleaning up the area has proven a major challenge, that simply removing the "deeply fortified rows of entrenched encampments" in January was not enough. And, she continued, neither was the daily street cleaning, the new "low threshold" housing in areas as far away as Franklin Park, the efforts to hire more case and street workers to try to get people with substance-abuse programs into care, the 200,000 syringes that city workers have picked up around Mass and Cass since January.

The fact is people keep coming back to Mass and Cass, she said. She said that yesterday, case workers and police tried to shift people congregating on busy Southampton Street, outside the city shelter further down the less traveled Atkinson Street, to try to protect both them and Southampton Street drivers.

Wu said there are limits to what the city can do and said the state needs to step in. In the past, city officials have said that many of the people who congregate at Mass and Cass are not from Boston. She said the state needs to supplement the "low threshold" housing units the city has created with 1,000 additional units outside Boston city limits.

"This is the scale of support that would allow us to truly address this regional crisis," she said. She then ended her address at the podium that had been set up in the park because of the "Shame on Wu!" screamers a few feet behind her.

Live Boston shows the depth of the ongoing problems at Mass and Cass, a year into Wu's term as mayor, and adds:

Also problematic is the complacency within the media, allowing Mayor Wu to talk the talk without walking the walk. Some local media outlets have gone as far as to blatantly ignore Wu’s hypocrisy, failing to hold her accountable.

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Comments

It’s easy to blame the mayor for a problem that she didn’t create. I’d like to hear some constructive solutions that people can propose. So far all I hear is blame amd, of course, the screaming toddlers who have nothing better to do than to harass an intelligent public official who is busy trying to solve big problems.

gtfu

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The solution is clear.

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to wait for a solution.

Should we do anything in the mean time?

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Lack of ideas isn't the problem here. Lack of ability to implement them is.

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I thought that was being blocked by Quincy, which Mayor Wu has no control over.

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So I think we can all agree Mass & Cass is a roll-up of a few issues:
1. Opioid addiction
2. Homelessness
3. Other drug & alcohol addictions
4. Mental illness

Unless I'm completely mistaken, when this issue blew-up last fall, it was reported that there WERE enough shelter/short-term housing beds to get everyone (at least at that time) off of Mass & Cass. The issue becomes that many didn't want what's being offered because either they can't do drugs at shelters and some having serious mental illness.

The greatest thing Gov. Baker could do to secure his legacy would be to ask what funding is required to get everyone off the streets today, give the $ and put everyone in rehab, detox, housing assistance & mental health housing, as warranted. Honestly, I doubt the costs are nearly as high as people think.

The issue--the real issue--would then become what to do with the people who refuse help. For those suffering from mental illness and those who are addicted but refuse treatment...then what? Unless we're willing to change our laws regarding involuntary drug, alcohol & mental health treatment, the most we can do is lock them up for loitering and minor drug & alcohol offenses.

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Suuure.

He's just trying to get through the next three months without the T exploding.

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that the Mayor was not speaking to Baker; she was speaking to Maura Healy.

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CORI(Criminal Offender Record Investigation) is routinely performed upon job seekers. Even 1 misdemeanor arrest can prevent unemployment.

Many of the homeless, if not most, have criminal records that will bar them from employment.

Furthermore, a Dishonorable Discharge can easily researched and has a catastrophic effect on employment.

The Internet has had many effects, Mass & Cass is one of them.

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Mayor Wu is correct to call on Gov. Baker. If the services were available in places other than Boston, fewer people would be congregating at Mass&Cass. People from outside Boston need to be able to access adequate services outside of Boston.

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Is Live Boston Universal Hub’s direct competition?

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We get along fine. Surely a grizzled UHub veteran such as yourself has noticed how many Live Boston photos and links I run (with their kind permission, should you feel the need to try to alert them I'm running their photos).

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by linking to Universal Hub?

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LiveBoston is only interested in the criminal news involving black and Latinos and trolling the progressives in Boston. They are silent on any cases which involve various cop criminal behavior.

LiveBoston = Erin Murphy = Frank Baker = classic old school white Boston bigotry.

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Not going to alert them. It ‘twas just a simple query

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Serious question. I mean look at the actual text of the post you linked. Accusing Wu of inflaming racial tensions, laundering the anti-vaxxers’ propaganda, accusing her of repressing free speech… it’s not just a difference of opinion, these are right-wing lies.

And it’s misleading for you to present their blog as simply “showing the depth of the ongoing problems.” In fact someone trying to get more information about Mass and Cass would be poorly served by Live Boston’s post. Just some photos (which don’t even show anything that bad!) and a horrible anti-Wu screed.

I understand that you get stories from them and it wouldn’t be appropriate to do that without citing them. But there clearly a dangerous group, and not disclosing their obvious ties with the BPD is journalistic malpractice. UHub should have higher standards.

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Adam - A bit self serving Anon posting here, no?

Everyone else - The situation at Mass and Cass has not changed in the past 10 months and 22 days since the Mayor took office.

She ran on cleaning it up. Instead it went 150 feet down the street yesterday and then she folded like a tent in a mild breeze when things weren't to her liking today.

Take off your rose colored glasses and see that the job is not getting done by the person who said they would take care of the problem.

It is ok to question your elected officials on this situation. Instead we hear it is the Cops / Live Boston / Marty Walsh / Erin Murphy / Frank Baker / Charlie Baker / Uncle Fester / Stan Papi who is responsible for all this.

Get real.

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Really?

There is asking hard questions and criticizing the mayor, and then there is this drivel:

Over her time in office, Wu has shown that she is a selfish leader who systematically has prioritized her political career and aspirations over the well-being of our city. While in office, she has steamrolled city employees’ labor rights, deepened racial divides in the city, ignored the ever-growing homeless population, reduced public safety resources in at-risk minority communities, and weaponized the police to stop free speech in its tracks (as rude as the speech may be, it’s still protected).

I got bingo! This is quite a few things, but, hard-hitting questions or factual debate certainly isn't it.

Our city is crumbling and ripping apart at the seams, and we cannot solely blame our hack of a Mayor and apathetic city council

Yeah, our city is crumbling.

To your own point:

Everyone else - The situation at Mass and Cass has not changed in the past 10 months and 22 days since the Mayor took office.

This is where I can't tell if you are being serious or not, but, wow, you're telling me a new mayor in their first term doesn't have a magic wand they can waive to make an incredibly complex problem go away that dates back to Mumbles? Say it ain't so, guy.

Get real.

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When you said this was a priority in your campaign, you expect that 18% or so of the way through her tenure, something, you know something, could have been accomplished by her at Mass and Cass.

Are we supposed to wait for say the third year of her second term to see if things can get done?

The parents and kids who use Crawford Park should not have to deal with this problem. Half the people here have a brick in their pants when a 311 call about a UPS truck in part of a crosswalk isn't dealt with by Seal Team Six with 2 minutes of the complaint.

But, bike paths!

The running away from anything more complex than putting in plastic bollards is embarrassing. She's in over her head.

Get real yourself.

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It is not fixed, I agree. But she has done many good things to get housing for those homeless people. The tents came down and then more people showed up. This is exactly why the state needs to help.

The really tough question is less political. Do all of our efforts to help actually induce more demand on social services from outside the city? Sort of like more lanes make more traffic. It is easy to jeer from the bleachers, but it isn't accurate to say nothing has changed.

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The Methadone Mile was not exactly a priority in her campaign. Now, there were other candidates that kept hammering away on the issue (not to mention a certain city council candidate who has made cleaning the area his goal in life regardless of repeatedly losing elections.) That made Wu forced to respond.

Honestly, like the other respondent said, this is a tough one. I think that the area came about in no small part due to the concentration of social services. Wu's heart is in the right place, but how many times can you try to clear things away only to have people come back?

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Why is the Methadone Mile so attractive? Maybe someone should look into that.

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The answer to your question is, the concentration of services that the mentally ill and addicted being centralized in the Mass and Cass area.

The rest of Eastern Mass needs to step up and build some services in their backyards. Instead of shipping all their problems to Boston.

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The services are there, but that makes the area a target for dealers to prey on those seeking them. That in turn brings people who are just trying to score rather than get those services. The desperation of some of those addicts leads to things like prostitution which attracts another layer to the issue.

That's part of why Long Island is so critical. You can actually better help those who are actively trying to quit by keeping them away from those who would prey on them.

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that most people are able to disregard it? Surely it would not be tolerated if it were in the middle of Fields Corner or Nubian Square or Brighton Center.

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You want a solution? Start going after the dealers. Charge them with attempted murder and get them off the streets.

I sympathize with addicts but these people who profit off the situation deserve a bullet in the back of the head and to be left for the rats. Since we live in a society, police intervention will be good enough.

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Setting aside your desire to summarily execute people, why precisely can’t the Boston police department figure out how to arrest drug dealers in this area? It’s not that big, there aren’t that many people, it’s been going on for years — why can’t BPD do anything to stop the supply? (If that’s your solution.)

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What would happen is we offered everyone a free, one-way, non-refundable ticket to a warmer climate? Not forcing, or pressuring, or threatening, or defrauding anyone, and we could even throw in gift cards (not cash) for meals on the way, or even a pre-paid cellphone so the people could get or stay in touch with family back here.

I realize our social and medical services are probably better than states like Florida, Arizona, and Texas, and I know this certainly isn't a long-term solution to a national problem. And I fully expect a certain number would wind up back here eventually. But in the interim, might this be a humane and cost-effective approach, especially with cold weather on the way?

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except going the other direction?

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But, yes, definitely 180º opposite from the DeSantis approach.

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If you're homeless and have a relative in another state that will take you in, the city has paid for transportation to get the person there. If someone is lucky enough to have such a relative, it's a good plan for everyone.

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If they're without a home here (by circumstance or choice), it doesn't seem fair or logical to expect or require them to have a home down there.

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You wouldn’t want the city to pay for someone to show up at the doorstep of a relative that very much doesn’t want the person coming back. Think about abusive relationships where one person was able the escape the other and would not be happy to know the city paid for a reunion.

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that a lot of the people there got there because someone wherever they were from in Maine, NH, VT, Western MA, etc paid for a free, one-way, non-refundable ticket to Boston. Not sure that continuing that rather inhumane "we don't care if you suffer as long as it's not here" policy is the best idea.

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If we'd only given Sob Story guy a few more dollars for his Commuter Rail ticket to Worcester, this problem would be in Worcester, not Mass and Cass.

Nah, but everyone wants to give a dollar to Keytar Bear instead.

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In shelters detoxes and recovery homes. We are not selling what the people want. Housing first can be a death sentence as I saw w a client I began to follow last spring. He came weekly was staying at shelter once he got out of detox, got himself a small job at the shelter and then the benevolent harm reduction advises decided he needed his own room in a city run “trap house”. He left the shelter is August and since then has picked up alcohol misuse has almost stabbed a roommate in this unsupervised “home” and is now a guest of the Suffolk House of Corrections. There are solutions Mayor Wu is not interested in hearing them

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We can’t arrest our way out of addiction. Understood. But we can lock up and treat people for theft, assault, drug offenses. Solution below:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/09/25/business/suffolk-sheriff-tompkins...

We should also send invoices to other Mass cities and towns for treating their residents. I don’t expect them to pay, but it’d make a good quarterly news story and bring awareness to who our EMS, police, street sweepers, and homeless shelters are dealing with daily.

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The health commission was just distributing care packages to safely get high on Mass and Cass is that solving the problem? When your businesses are constantly being damaged and children nor the community can use the city parks without stepping on needles or kids going to school and having to see human feces and people sleeping in tents. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about being pricked as a 9 year old just was playing football. Didn’t a whole school protest against the needles and still no change. It’s frustration. Yes the problem came before her but NOTHING is being done productively. The sheriff offered an entire side of the jail to help solve the problems and nobody gave it a shot. Stop giving them free housing to get high. They are doing drugs in open air prostitution etc why aren’t they being locked up? It’s a shame the Fire Department has an entire gate around it. Get them treatment in a controlled facility. That’s also more jobs. The GOVERNOR needs to step in and do something because all of those individuals are not only from the Boston area they are from the entire MA and out of state. This wouldn’t be allowed in in other towns so HELP the damn Mayor along with all the businesses and schools affected in the area.

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will be available soon. It’s not the Seaport but it’s on the waterfront.

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What's the definition of being from Boston? If these people spend their miserable lives in the city, they should count as Boston residents.

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Plenty of Boston residents are not from Boston. To be "From" Boston you have to have been born here. Where you were born and raised is where you are from.

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In this context it's completely obvious that we're talking about someone who previously was not homeless and lived somewhere outside of the city of Boston who then, through whatever set of circumstances, ended up as a homeless addict at Mass & Cass.

You trying to pretend this is some townie bullshit about "real Boston" street credentials is doing nothing but making you look the fool.

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