BOSTON – After a meeting with public health professionals, community advocates, and residents to discuss the worsening public health and public safety crisis in the Mass and Cass area, City Councilor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell is calling for immediate action from the Administration. In a letter sent to Acting Mayor Janey today, Campbell offered several immediate steps the City should take to improve public health and safety at the intersection and surrounding neighborhoods, and called for the City to publicly release an action plan within 30 days.
“We have incredible service providers doing heroic work in the area alongside City departments, yet they are overwhelmed and siloed. We need a coordinated effort and response to increase our collective impact, and it is critical our City and State administrations take the lead in building that partnership,” said Campbell. “I’m calling on the Administration including Acting Mayor Janey to meet with advocates and leaders on the front lines of this issue, and publicly release an action plan by June 19th.”
Campbell is specifically calling for the Administration to implement several key strategies in the Mass & Cass plan she released in January, including:
- Appoint a Mass & Cass Chief, a public health professional with strong management and team building skills whose sole responsibility will be to oversee a coordinated public health response and decentralization plan for the area;
- Establish a Dedicated Mass & Cass First Responder Unit to include, but not limited to, public health and recovery service professionals, mental health counselors, first responders, and supportive housing specialists. This multidisciplinary and dedicated approach is important so that law enforcement can interrupt and shut down the drug trafficking and open air drug market in the area while service providers and volunteers support residents experiencing substance use disorder, homelessness, or other mental health issues and can connect them to shelter and services with dignity;
- Take Steps to Reactivate Long Island. The City should release the report on the status of buildings on Long Island which residents are eager to review. The City should add funding for a feasibility study in the FY22 budget for ferry service to the island and set aside funds to activate ferry service;
- Finalize a plan to decentralize services. For over a decade we’ve had a goal of decentralizing services in the area but we have not seen any progress on this goal. We need a realistic plan, crafted with providers, to help us thoughtfully and strategically achieve this goal.
Campbell’s plan was built in partnership with advocates, health care and recovery service providers, and residents along with some members of the City’s Mass & Cass Task Force, who agree the plan would be effective and could immediately alleviate the burden on residents and businesses in the area.
Read Campbell’s full plan to address the crisis at Mass & Cass here.