Neighbors brace for impending crackdown of Boston’s encampments at Mass & Cass

BOSTON — The city of Boston could start cracking down on the encampments at Mass and Cass later this week.

Boston City Council is expected to vote this Wednesday on an ordinance that would ban makeshift structures on public property.

The city’s plan would bring in additional police officers to help disperse the crowds.

The ordinance would also help define the role of police officers at Mass and Cass.

If approved by a majority of the 13-member Boston City Council, the ordinance can go into effect immediately.

If no action is taken by their October 30th deadline, the ordinance will automatically go into effect.

“Where do people go once tents are cleared?,” questioned South End neighbor Ethel Bullitt. “Without a specific plan on where people are going to go, people are going to disperse.”

Bullitt said she’s particularly worried about a new 30-bed shelter that city plans to open on Mass Ave in the South End if the ordinance is passed.

“We’re just going to see a lot more people in need of services,” she said “More people wandering the neighborhood and posing safety risks to themselves and to others.”

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said the goal of the ordinance is to separate people in need of shelter and services from the criminals who are preying on the vulnerable.

The ordinance would remove the 48-hour notice that Boston Police officers are currently required to give before removing tents and tarps.

“80 percent of these people don’t want to be rejuvenated. They don’t want it,” said Ana Gajate, who recently became homeless.

Gajate said she ended up on the streets a month ago and is struggling to find a stable situation.

She’s convinced that a crackdown could make it even tougher for her to find housing.

“I’ve been on the street for a month, and I’m not a drug addict,” she said. “So their housing comes first? What about me that don’t got a needle in the back of my arm?”

Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan would refer people from Mass and Cass to shelters if space is available.

It would also provide transportation to the shelters if requested.

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

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