Monday, October 18, 2021

Controversy erupts over how to help the homeless on Boston’s ‘Methadone Mile’

Dirty tents are on the streets. Bottles, plastic bags and all kinds of garbage fly into the air. People wearing shabby clothes keep wandering here and there. This is Boston’s “Methadone Mile,” an area that’s only a few miles from the city’s downtown and financial district.

Boston’s epicenter of the opioid crisis and homelessness earned its nickname because of the concentration of service providers who commonly incorporate methadone into drug addiction treatment. Over the years, the area has attracted large numbers of homeless and addicted people, especially after the closure of Boston’s Long Island treatment facility in 2014.

Shelter and service closures due to the pandemic have worsened the situation around the Methadone Mile, also known as “Mass & Cass” because it is close to the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melania Cass Blvd.

The Greater Boston Food Bank is located right next to “Tent City”. Food Bank Chief Operating Officer Carol Tienken recently told NBC that the number of tents in the area has grown from 100 to 200 in just a few weeks.

Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO of the nonprofit, told Boston.com that she has invested $500,000 in security cameras, fences and gates, and $500,000 in hiring security guards. Otherwise, the money could have been used to feed thousands of people.

Tent line along Southampton Street in Boston’s South End. (Lerner Liu/The Epoch Times)

Controversial plan to rent hotel rooms to the homeless

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) recently proposed moving some homeless people from the Methadone Mile to a Quality Inn hotel in Revere, which Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo strongly opposed.

In a letter to Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janney and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Arrigo criticized the BPHC’s miscommunication and disorder. He said the Reverence Substance Use Disorder and Homelessness Initiative’s office received a voicemail on August 30 from a recovery coach at Eliot Community Human Services announcing that the Quality Inn would become a homeless transitional center with more than 150 beds. After the message, Arrigo has also been told that the number of beds will be 156, 30, 60 and 160, but he has not received anything in writing.

“Consider the impact of the emergency without the thorough preparation of Revere’s first responders at the Quality Inn. Not only would the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors be at stake, but also the viability of the much larger reform movement,” Arrigo said.

Jenny responded to the letter with a sharply worded statement. She said staff from the Boston Public Health Commission and Eliot Community Human Services worked with Mayor Arrigo and his team over the past three weeks to review plans and comply with requests.

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“To stand against this proposal means to stand against 30 people who have a place to call home. That means denying 30 people the health care they need most. Municipal corporation leaders who say that we need to do this work as one area, but those who fail to take responsibility in their city or town can raise their voice. But, it doesn’t solve the problem,” Jenny said.

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Idea of ​​Remodeling a Jail

Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, whose office building is across the street next to the Methadone Mile, suggested forcibly relocating those street campers to a building on his South Bay corrections complex that was once used to hold illegal immigrants. Used to go, but now it was empty.

Facing criticism from Congress member Ayanna Pressley and others, Tompkins said his proposal would be a “last resort” as winter approaches and the city-led efforts were fruitless.

“Let’s find a way to get people off the street and get them into housing where they have shelter, food, other medicines they need, showers and so on,” Tompkins said at the WBUR program.

The Democratic Sheriff’s supporter was Jim Lyons, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. “We cannot continue to allow these people, unfortunately, on the street, where they are never going to get help. they need help. And our job is to get them to do it,” Lyons said.

Yug Times Photos
Tent City is close to the Suffolk County House of Correction. (Lerner Liu/The Epoch Times)

a temporary solution

The Newmarket Business Association submitted a plan to the City of Boston on September 25 to establish a Business Improvement District (BID), covering parts of Dorchester, Roxbury and the South End. According to the Boston Business Journal, the BID proposal included mandatory fees from property owners in the area that would be used to operate shuttles throughout the day, and hiring a security force and a street cleaning crew.

In an email to The Epoch Times, Kathryn Drennan Lynn of the Greater Boston Food Bank said her organization supported the BID project as a long-term solution. But they were also looking forward to seeing the immediate action taken outside their 70 South Bay Avenue facility.

“We request the Boston Mayor to take two immediate steps to create a clear and safe route to our building and prevent tent camping around our building so that we can continue our campaign and mission to end hunger in eastern Massachusetts. be able to continue.” Lin said.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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