City’s mandate to clear tent encampments is voluntary

BOSTON — Boston city officials sent a letter to the people living in encampments near Mass and Cass that they needed to remove all of their tents by today. But the city says it ended up turning the tent clearing into a voluntary action.

From overhead, you can see the intensity of what is going on near Mass and Cass. We met one man, who did not want to appear on camera, who lost a close friend on these streets and now he comes down to try to help. “Somebody loves all these people out here and if we can get their families involved and get them back to their communities maybe we have a chance,” said the man.

Boston sent a letter out to the people living in this encampment saying, “…all tents and structures need to be removed from Atkinson Street by May 1, 2023.” Then later clarified in a written statement, Individuals in the area are being asked to voluntarily remove their tent and are being encouraged to take advantage of the free shelter, substance use treatment, relocation, and storage options available.”

Doris Wong says her customers at Food-Pak Express have issues getting in and out of her food distribution business. “People are scared, they just scared. They come down here and the street looks like this,” said Wong. She was counting on the city finally getting everyone here connected to services and out of the encampment, but she says there is no real progress. “Once they are gone, cleanup, they are going to move right back in,” said Wong.

Many people did leave voluntarily with their belongings but later in the day we saw people coming back.  The city says their goal is to get people connected with help and hope that help sends them in the right direction.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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