Watch CBS News

Revere Mayor Has 'Immense Frustration' Over Boston's Plans To Move Homeless To His City

REVERE (CBS) - It's a tragic scene: Boston's drug-infested homeless encampment at the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue. It has earned nicknames like "Methadone Mile" and "Mass & Cass."

"We don't have the capacity or the resources to deal with the Mass and Cass issue by ourselves," said Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo. He says Boston officials never contacted him about plans to relocate some of the homeless from their city to the Quality Inn on Route 1 in Revere.

Neighbors who live around the hotel are now braced for problems. One man who lives behind the hotel wondered what headaches would come with the move. "If it's already a headache at the mile over there, what's it going do over here?" he asked.

Boston's homeless encampment at the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue. (WBZ-TV)

There's reason to be concerned. "After the pandemic, it's getting out of control," said Janet Colombo, who owns New Market Pizza & Grill. She said the desperation outside her shop has brought crime and vandalism. "They broke my windows like six times already. I changed the window yesterday."

Back in Revere, Mayor Arrigo sent a scathing letter to the Boston Public Health Commission. "It is with immense frustration that I write to you today," the letter read. "…the level of disorganization from BPHC regarding this effort is appalling."

Mass and Cass has become a flashpoint in Boston's mayoral race. The two candidates say most of those staying there are not even from Boston.

"This is still a conversation with our regional partners. We need to be on the same page with proactive comprehensive strategies," said City Councilor Michelle Wu on Wednesday.

Her opponent, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George spoke about the issue before Wednesday's Council meeting. "Other communities, other cities and towns, have to step up and help," she said.

A Boston spokesperson said the city will be renting 30 rooms at the Quality Inn, saying "the City must not shoulder this burden alone."

Mayor Kim Janey released a statement, which said, in part:

"We know that well over 60% of the people we serve come from outside of Boston. To help provide services closer to the places that people call home, we need other cities and towns to step up.

This includes Revere.

The Boston Public Health Commission has built a thoughtful plan with Eliot Community Human Services, an experienced public health provider, to provide needed housing for 30 individuals who have been homeless. For the last three weeks, staff from the Boston Public Health Commission and Eliot Community Human Services have met with Mayor Arrigo and his team. They have reviewed plans and followed up on requests."

Arrigo responded to Janey with a prepared statement, which said, in part, "I am not sure which planning conversations Acting Mayor Janey referred to in her statement because simply put, they did not happen. The first time we spoke was today, and in that conversation, she was unable to identify a single additional regional partner they are working with to help address this problem."

Revere's mayor says he's willing to help, but he needs to be included in the conversation. "Moving people from Mass and Cass to Route 1 to a hotel that is isolated to public transportation … is not a real solution," he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.