mass and cass

Mayor Wu Calls Mass. and Cass Tent Clearing ‘A Turning Point' for Boston

She said 154 people who had been living in tents in encampments were successfully referred to housing by Wednesday's deadline

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The last tents have been removed from the intersection of Mass. and Cass, not far from where Boston Mayor Michelle Wu spoke Thursday morning.

"Yesterday was a turning point for the City of Boston toward stabilization and recovery," Wu said at a press conference at the Pine Street Inn. "It's not the turning of a page that we are now moving on from. I want to be clear that we did not solve homelessness yesterday."

Wu, who had set Wednesday as the deadline for taking down the tents at the homeless encampment and moving people into transitional housing, said the situation was extremely unsafe, as people were living in tents, unhoused, with no heat or running water.

"We saw fatalities over the last few years, we saw overdoses, we saw extremely unsanitary conditions, worsening health challenges and we saw a disconnect between resources, housing opportunities and health care available in the city where so many were not able to tap into and access that," she said.

There was no resistance Wednesday at the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue as crews moved to clean up the homeless encampment, where many of the people suffered from mental illness, drug addiction, or both. However, some had already returned as of early Thursday morning.

Overall, Wu said 154 people formerly living in tents in the encampments were successfully referred to housing and all of the tents removed. Those who return will be approached by outreach workers who will offer them services and find them another place to go.

Boston police also said Thursday that they are investigating two deaths in the area within a five day span over the past week. They said the investigations are ongoing and more details will be released soon.

"We're not worried about it right now, but it's still under investigation," Lt. Peter Messina said.

Starting Thursday, the mayor said the city will resume nightly street sweeping and remove any trash on the sidewalks on Newmarket Square and Atkinson Street and power wash the sidewalks once all of the debris has been cleared.

Finding places for hundreds of homeless men and women to live and get treatment has been a big part of solving the Mass. and Cass problem.

"They have all been out here begging people to take housing and shelter and that’s what we’ve needed," said Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association.

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