Mayor Wu Visits Mass. and Cass as City's Tent-Clearing Deadline Arrives

Boston has been working to find appropriate housing and other services, like drug treatment programs, for everyone living at the encampment

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City of Boston work crews were at the homeless encampment known as Mass. and Cass Wednesday, the deadline for unhoused people to move out, tearing down tents as Mayor Michelle Wu visited to speak with residents.

Wu had said this week that there were 62 people who still needed to be moved from the area near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, which has been identified as a public health threat due to unsanitary conditions and open drug use. She said the remainder of those structures would be removed Wednesday, but also that the work "will take more than one day."

Wu didn't speak to reporters while visiting the area on Wednesday morning, but speak to residents. Her administration has been working to find appropriate housing and other services, like drug treatment programs, for everyone living at the encampment.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu visited Mass. and Cass to speak with unhoused people living in the area as the city clears out the homeless encampment.

In December, the Boston Public Health Commission surveyed those living in the area and identified 145 people who were living there between Dec. 6 and Dec. 8. As of Monday morning, 83 of those people had been placed into housing created across the city.

Workers on Wednesday morning were seen tearing down tents in the Newmarket area, while Atkinson Street remained a full encampment.

A few people who have lived in the area for years said the city's efforts to rehouse the people at Mass. and Cass were good.

"It's a good thing if you're going to get them into treatment and let them be able to go to the next level," Norris Cowart said.

More than half of the people who'd been living in the homeless encampment along Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard have left, but more than 60 remain.

The January deadline was expected to finish work begun in October, in which protocol people in tents or shelters were given notice at least two days before their property must be removed as well as offers of drug treatment, shelter, transportation and property storage. City workers were expected to stay in the area after Jan. 12 to ensure the encampments don't return.

Officials said they're offering dozens of housing options, including the Envision Hotel, Shattuck Hospital Campus and Roundhouse Hotel. Support teams were working with the remaining 62 at Mass. and Cass, and the project is moving forward, with this caveat.

"These issues are not going to be fixed by Wednesday," Boston Public Health Executive Direction Dr. Bisola Ojikutu said, adding that it's "one step in the right direction."

We spent three weeks in the area of Mass. and Cass following the people that live there.
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