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More Than 150 People Relocated From Mass And Cass Tents To Temporary Housing, Mayor Wu Says

BOSTON (CBS) -- Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says the city has found temporary housing for 154 people who had been living in tents in the area known as Mass and Cass.

"All I've ever wanted was a roof over my head that I can afford," said a woman who didn't want her name used, but was given temporary housing at a Boston shelter. "We're not all drug addicts. Some of us just don't have any place to live."

Her tent was removed as the city cleared the encampments on Wednesday.

Mayor Wu says consent forms were signed to remove unwanted belongings. She described it as a well-planned, but empathetic move to find housing and services for individuals who wanted help.

"We did not solve homelessness yesterday. It was extremely unsafe to live in tents with no heat, no running water in the winter in Boston," said Mayor Wu.

One location for temporary housing is the Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain, where a community of cottages are under construction. 10 individuals are now being housed there, with the hope of expanding that to 30. It's being managed by the Commonwealth Care Alliance, which is coordinating services like substance abuse and mental health.

"This is a place where they're in transition. They have agreed in voluntarily coming into this environment, and we are then meeting them where they are in their continuum of needs," said the Alliance's CEO Christopher Palmieri.

Just hours after the tents were removed, many people still remained on the street. Mayor Wu said she had seen as many as 40 individuals when she returned in the aftermath of the cleanup.

"I know our outreach teams have continued to work with everyone and will continue to provide services and offer housing and shelter to get out of the cold," the Mayor said.

Some local hotels are also being used, with the goal to move more people in as some transition to permanent housing.

Mayor Wu calls the city's effort a "turning point", with a long road ahead to determine its success.


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