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Officials announce new Mass and Cass proposals; police say they will start new patrols to keep its problems from spreading to other neighborhoods

Wu announces new Mass and Cass initiative

Wu announces new initiatives at the Base on Shirley Street.

Mayor Wu and other officials today announced a second drive to rid Mass and Cass of the tents that have sprung up there again - coupled with new programs to get people into transitional housing and to quickly squelch the rise of new encampments elsewhere in the city.

Wu will be submitting an ordinance to the City Council that would let police immediately remove tents, tarps and other structures on public ways - such as Atkinson Street - rather than first requiring 48 hours notice as currently called for. The city will also be setting up what Wu said would be a temporary shelter nearby with 30 beds for people who cannot immediately get into more permanent treatment or housing. Once they are placed, the shelter will be shut, she said.

"It is not a permanent shelter, not a day shelter," she said.

At a press conference this morning, Cox said a key issue with the new tents is that they are no longer just set up by homeless people but by drug dealers and other criminals preying on the homeless. Remove the tents and the criminals are exposed and easier to nab, he said, adding that in recent months Mass and Cass has seen double-digit increases in gun arrests and assaults, "making it just almost unbearable for the people who work down there."

Cox added that, coupled with this new ability, police will step up monitoring of other areas in the city - and use the same power to quickly remove tents there. This will include more frequent patrols "strategically placed where we think people go," he said.

"We are going be in every neighborhood just to be sure this doesn't occur," he said of possible movement of the mobile drug bazaar Mass and Cass has become, he said.

Wu said the new program shows that the city's efforts - one of her first major initiatives after winning election in 2021 was to call for the removal of Mass and Cass tents - are actually working, because people are getting into shelters and "low threshold" housing, and that the city has ramped up the infrastructure to help people who wind up at the crossroads, in a way the city had not previously done. She said the city has 200 new "transitional units" that have provided temporary housing for a total of 500 people - and that 149 former Mass and Cass denizens have been placed in permanent housing over the past 18 months.

"That has all been working," but now the city has to double down and not only help the people who flock to the area but to return Atkinson Street to "a functioning vehicular street open to travel" and to help long suffering Mass and Cass businesses and residents, she said.



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While I'm very happy for the 149 former Mass and Cass denizens who have been placed in permanent housing, more questions arise: are they all still in that permanent housing? And do any of them still frequent Mass and Cass anyway?

It seems there are two related but different problems: how the situation affects the individuals living in it, and how it affects the broader area around it. Providing housing seems wonderful for that first problem and we should keep doing it, but do we have reason to believe it's been helping much with the second problem?

Voting closed 29

When you have housing, it is easier to get into drug treatment and handle the many other issues.

Voting closed 12

I went to a community meeting at the Condon School last night. Some of the same people there as at today's press conference. Nothing new.
I don't know how more enabling with low threshold housing or safe injection sites (now called 'overdose prevention') or the many other programs coming online is going to work.
There is a definite need for civil commitments or whatever the term is for involuntary treatment. The area has become a magnet for horror. The police are hamstrung by the mayor. There just seems to be too much leniency associated with the present way of dealing with this. It's not working. The more that is given, the more that is expected.
"Wash, rinse, repeat."
Have a great day one and all.

Voting closed 63

Please elaborate.

How? Because Wu doesn't allow them to kill addicts on sight? Because they have to follow the laws of the Commonwealth? What exactly does Wu have to do with it?

What could they do legally and ethically that they aren't? Note that our jails and prisons DO NOT provide any treatment.

Also, you might want to read up on the science of harm reduction - but that would mean having some empathy and not just thinking "they should all just die and go away".

Voting closed 42

Getting housing is not "enabling" them. It is far easier to get treatment to stick when you have housing. Housing is a human right so everyone, including my homeless self, should have one.

Voting closed 13

Double-digit increases in gun arrests and assaults shows that the city's efforts are actually working.

Voting closed 17

reminds me of the combat zone.

Voting closed 4

Nobody's coming here to see a strip show or a porn movie.

Voting closed 9

but tha cops olsō lookt tha uthər way sō long az tha ilegal prostittūshun didnt make its way too beecon hill.

Voting closed 6