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In the troubled Mass and Cass section of Boston, the process of removing all tarps and tents by Wednesday night was completed with plenty of time to spare.
A newly passed city ordinance banning tents on the streets of Boston is in effect as the corridor continues to see open drug use and homelessness.
And compliance is mandated by mid-week.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Michelle Wu provided an update on the tent removal process, calling the crisis in the area an issue her administration is “never going to give up on.”
WATCH LIVE: Boston Mayor Wu providing update as city begins clearing Mass & Cass tents.
Posted by Boston 25 News on Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Tania Del Rio, Wu’s senior advisor, confirmed that 52 people have already moved out of Mass & Cass and 25 more individuals were in the process of moving.
Wu also noted that two tons of material have been cleared out of the area and that only 14 structures remain, a number that is down from 55 on Monday.
Boston 25′s Bob Ward reported that as of 12 p.m., only three tents remained along Mass & Cass. All of the tents on Atkinson Street were gone by 2 p.m.
— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) November 1, 2023
Wu made it clear that anyone remaining in the area after 4 p.m. would be arrested, saying, “Laws will be enforced.”
Under the ordinance, police can remove tents if the people living in them are offered a place at a shelter, a ride to the shelter, and help storing belongings.
It also eliminates a $25 fine for those who refuse to comply with the ordinance and requires city officials to track available shelter space daily.
“I’ve been here multiple times over the last few days and the effort is going smoothly so far,” Wu told Boston 25 on Tuesday. “We have had several dozen people already moved into their placements. Each individual is being matched with shelter placement or services that help support them in their journey on recovery.”
Police and city workers could be seen interacting with people in the corridor, preparing to move the encampments out.
Wu says priority for precious shelter space is given to people who have been identified as residents here.
The real challenge will be keeping the tents from coming back.
“We do expect and are holding ourselves to a standard of having a very different situation on the ground at Atkinson Street in several days. And there’s been a lot of work that’s gone into that. But it will be an ongoing process of ensuring city-wide that we are reaching people who need services while preventing tents are popping up. That’s just not a safe or healthy way for anyone to be living in Boston,” Wu said.
The process of clearing tents from the area will cost about $439,000, city officials have estimated.
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