Talks at highest levels on Boston’s “humanitarian crisis”

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Describing the situation at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston as a “humanitarian crisis,” Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration has had a “number of conversations” with city officials about ways the state might be able to help.

The “Mass. and Cass” intersection, located near shelters and providers of addiction services, has become known as a center for homelessness and drug activity. Asked about the situation there on Monday, Baker said it is Boston that “has the jurisdiction on this stuff” but that there are implications for surrounding areas as well.

“We’ve been talking to them quite a bit for the past couple of weeks. I do think they’re interested in what help we can provide,” Baker said, referring to city officials. “It’s a humanitarian crisis in many respects, as well as a significant public health issue, and I really do hope that they and we and others are able to put together a plan that can deal with a lot of the very legitimate needs and concerns that people have about that place.”

Finding ways to improve conditions at Mass. and Cass has been an issue in the Boston mayoral race, and Baker’s comments are not the first time officials have acknowledged ongoing talks about the area at the state level.

“Governor Baker and I are talking about very important things now, Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass, with the attorney general,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said during a Sept. 9 appearance on GBH’s “Greater Boston.”

Rollins, whom President Biden nominated as the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, made that remark after host Jim Braude pressed her about talks with Baker around appointing a potential successor district attorney.

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