Movement at Mass and Cass As Charlie Baker’s group gathers again, neighborhood organizations begin efforts

Multiple efforts progress in Maas and Cass, as the governor’s heavy-hitting Round Table meets again, a new community-led work group begins, and the Suffolk County Sheriff is pressing ahead with his plan to house homeless addicts in an unused building in the South Bay prison.

“We’ll be ready in no time,” Sheriff Steve Tompkins told the Herald on Tuesday, saying he was “in conversations with anyone who’s going to take my call” regarding people who can help turn South Bay’s “Building 8” into addicts. It is sent to start recovery.

Tompkins’ plan to use the building formerly used for federal immigration detainees drew criticism from several advocates including U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, but Tompkins emphasized, “What’s your plan? Until they come up with something, I’ll keep moving forward with my work.”

The mayor was the common denominator between two high-level meetings on Tuesday about the dangerous open-air drug market in the Newmarket district of the South End. In the first, Governor Charlie Baker reconvened a roundtable of power players with the goal of addressing issues in what is known as the Mass and Cass or Methadone Mile – bringing together the city, state, attorney general, attorney general, courts, and more. time in two weeks.

Tompkins, speaking a few hours later after also attending the meeting, said he was satisfied with the conversation, which he said focused largely on how to get people off the streets and what supportive housing or recovery programs they’re going toward — whether it’s the Tompkins building or a hospital. Shattuck ex or something else.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Acting Mayor Kim Jane.

On Tuesday evening, a coalition of civic organizations led by Steve Fox of the South End Forum and Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association convened the first meeting of a working group focused on the Bloc and Cass that had been dormant for the past two years. The public forum has been on pause, deferred to the city-run task force and bloc since 2019, but neighborhood groups are starting to come back after the task force went out of business this summer.

“We’ve been playing on the sidelines in terms of this crisis,” Fox said at the start of the meeting. The idea is for these meetings to help inform the city and the state’s responses to problems in the area, he told the Herald.

Much of the talk centered around Tompkins’ plan, with elected officials including City Councilman Frank Baker and other big names like former state senator Linda Dorsena Fury, now of Suffolk Construction, expressing their support for something like this.

“We need to think outside the box,” Faury said.

Baker and Forry suggested using Nashua Street Prison instead of the South Bay building right next to the Methadone Mile, with a downtown hospital running it, but Tompkins said there would be major logistical issues there, including keeping these new residents separate from the people. imprisoned.

“We have to do something right away,” Rep. Liz Miranda stressed, noting openness to such a plan.

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