BOSTON — Encampments along Boston’s Mass and Cass corridor were cleared more than two months ago, but business owners say many issues remain unresolved.
Business owners told Boston 25 News that they are still regularly victims of vandalism, trespassing and vagrancy.
The new Business Improvement District, to which owners contribute, is preparing to deploy new security measures to address ongoing issues.
Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association said an area-wide security team will be deployed in the coming weeks to supplement police patrols.
“Hopefully a number of companies will be able to lower their private security or they can take it all down,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the goal is for the new team to provide a central enterprise security foundation with 24/7 dispatch.
“A lot of our businesses have hired private security guards over the past year. The amount of money spent on this is in the millions,” Sullivan explained. “Our hope is that we are really going to make a difference in the cost to business.”
The Business Improvement District also plans to install a network of high-quality surveillance cameras in hotspots.
“With technology and security, we can do a lot of things that will deter people,” Sullivan added.
With warmer months ahead, Sullivan and other business leaders fear more people will soon gather in the area.
“It’s such a process to get into rehab and get a bed. It’s really easy to give up,” Matt said.
Matt told Boston 25 News that he had moved from a tent to temporary accommodation in a shelter and encountered obstacles getting into a drug rehabilitation program over the past four days.
“It’s getting a little daunting. It’s day four, and I just can’t find a bed,” he said. “It’s easy to say it didn’t work today, so I’ll try tomorrow. You try tomorrow, and it doesn’t work. This is where you say, you know what, forget it.
Matt found out he had been accepted into a 30-day drug rehabilitation program just minutes after his interview with Boston 25 News.
Some of the low-threshold housing put in place by the City of Boston, including the Roundhouse Hotel, provides an on-site option for residents to enter recovery.
However, Matt says the path to treatment isn’t clear to everyone.
“I think 40% of people I know who have been given temporary housing are actively seeking treatment right now,” he said. “I would say, don’t give up. Today sucks, but maybe things will be a little better tomorrow.
According to the city of Boston, 179 people have been placed in low-threshold housing.
A spokesperson sent the following statement to Boston 25 News.
“The City’s awareness teams continue to carry out street awareness activities on a daily basis. Through a partnership between the Boston Public Health Commission and community partners, the city’s Street Outreach Team includes recovery specialists, nurses and housing navigators, bringing a new model of integrated services into the Street. The outreach team directs individuals to treatment and housing resources, provides medical care, connects individuals to city engagement center services, and connects individuals with their home communities.
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