BOSTON — More than 150 people who were living in tents at a homeless encampment in Boston have been offered temporary housing, Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday, a day after her self-imposed deadline for clearing out the area.
“Not a single person was forcibly removed from the encampments, no arrests were made,” Wu said at a news conference. “I want to just emphasize how different what happened yesterday has been from what we’ve seen in other cities or in the past. This was truly grounded in public health and housing.”
City officials did not say how many people accepted the offer of housing.
Several buildings in the city are being used for low-threshold housing, where people who had been living in tents in the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard — known as Mass and Cass — can reside and get the addiction and mental health treatment they need before being moved to long-term housing.
Police are also investigating two bodies found in the area within the past week, but have not said the deaths are suspicious.
City officials have described the encampment as a humanitarian and public health crisis, and Wu acknowledged the job is not yet done.
“We did not solve homelessness yesterday,” she said.
Public works crews used bulldozers, dump trucks and street sweepers to clear discarded tents and other belongings Wednesday, an effort that lasted most of the day.
“I was on site for the entire process yesterday and witnessed compassion, patience and dedication on behalf of our city staff and our partners,” said Dr. Monica Bharel, the former state public health commissioner leading the city’s efforts. “We made progress yesterday, but we have continued work to do to change how our city is approaching these issues.”
Measures are being taken to make sure the tent city does not return, including regular sweeps of the area by city workers that include offers of help, Wu said.