Breaking her silence on the issue, Council President Kim Janey issued a letter last week to neighbors in the Alexandra Ball Neighborhood Association announcing that encampments on Melnea Cass Boulevard had been removed, but that good news was greeted with new encampments popping up on sidewalks in front of residential buildings.
Encampments with about 10 to 15 brand new tents began to show up this summer on Melnea Cass near Washington Street with little being done to put an end to them. The City had said last week it was cleaning up the encampment regularly for sanitary issues, but didn’t have a legally-sound protocol to remove the encampments.
That seemed to change late last week when Janey’s letter came.
“As a result, the encampments have been removed from Melnea Cass Blvd. and Jim Rice Field,” she wrote. “While connecting those most in need to these crucial services is imperative, this is not a one-and-done solution and the opioid epidemic is still very much ongoing in Boston. There are still many with substance abuse disorders in need of treatment, shelter, and long-term support.”
Janey said she is working on scheduling a walk-through of the area with neighbors, and also thanked them for being vocal and working towards finding a solution. Janey said she has filed an order at the City Council to hold a hearing on the effectiveness of the City’s Mass/Cass 2.0 plan. That hearing, she wrote, is coming soon.
As great as this news was, encampments on the sidewalks of Alexandra Ball began to pop up on Monday and Tuesday.
Residents said the encampments were in front of entryways, blocking them from being able to leave their homes without having to move tents and lean-tos. Meanwhile, people returned with sleeping bags and began taking up residence near the basketball courts at Ramsay Park – hardly a fitting tribute for a park built to remember an amazing, decorated African American war veteran who graduated West Point.