Deadline for Mass and Cass cleanup arrives

Comprehensive efforts to limit homelessness in the city’s Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue took shape Wednesday, the deadline set by mayor Michelle Wu nearly one month ago. The mayor was on hand as crews using heavy equipment started removing encampments and tents in the area.

It is an issue the city has had for years, through multiple mayoral administrations. Under the city’s new mayor, plans to create transitional housing were put in place at the Shattuck Hospital Campus, EnVision Hotel and Roundhouse Hotel.

The city’s goal is to connect those living in the Mass and Cass corridor with transitional housing and addiction services, one of Wu’s campaign promises.

A December survey identified 145 people on the street, and since then, more than 120 have been placed in housing or treatment, according to Dr. Monica Bharel, a cabinet-level senior advisor to the mayor. Bharel said in a virtual meeting that others have moved in of late, so cleanup of the area may not be finished by the end of the day on Wednesday.

Tuesday night, during a virtual meeting some expressed concerns over the city’s current plan and how it will work in the months ahead when more people attempt to come to Mass and Cass.

“Until people answer questions I’m very suspicious,” said city councilor Frank Baker. “I’m interested in what this is going to look like in the next few months.”

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