AP NEWS TEST SITE
ADVERTISEMENT

Boston mayor temporarily halts cleanup of homeless camp

November 18, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s new mayor has temporarily halted the cleanup of a sprawling homeless camp that’s been at the center of the city’s struggles with the opioid crisis.

Democratic Mayor Michelle Wu, on her first full day in office after her historic election, said Wednesday her administration will be “pausing the removals” of people living in tents near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, an area commonly known as Mass and Cass.

The announcement came as a Suffolk Superior Court judge on Wednesday denied a request by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts to issue a temporary restraining order immediately halting the cleanup while their legal challenge plays out in court.

ADVERTISEMENT

The ACLU, in a lawsuit filed earlier this month, argued the removals are unconstitutional and violate due process rights. It also said the city promised to find treatment or alternative housing for those displaced but has so far failed to do so.

Cleanup of the long problematic area began under then-acting Mayor Kim Janey, who had declared addiction and homelessness a public health emergency last month.

The area, home to numerous methadone clinics and social services, has long been a haven for crime and illegal drug sales and use, often in the open.