BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Several talks have been circulating over providing shelter for people living on the streets at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.
The area, notoriously known as the “Methadone Mile,” has become a hub for gatherings among those suffering from homelessness and addiction.
While local officials recognize this issue, a concrete solution to provide these individuals with transitional housing has yet to be established.
One proposal involves the currently closed Best Western Roundhouse hotel located on Massachusetts Avenue.
Last year the Pine Street Inn took a one-year lease to help reduce shelter overcrowding during the coronavirus surge, according to The Boston Globe. As a result, 172 people were moved into the hotel in July 2020.
Housing placement teams then placed 74 percent of people into permanent housing from this effort, but a small number ended up back in shelters.
The Pine Street program soon gained support from another non-profit called Victory Programs Inc. (VPI).
This organization planned to lease the hotel and provide beds for those in transitional housing. However, this deal died as there was not enough community support to back the plan the Globe reports.
While the City of Boston and the state originally said they would support VPI's proposal, acting Mayor Kim Janey was not so decisive in a press conference earlier in August.
“We will continue to work with residents in the area,” Janey said. “We continue to work with non-profit leaders who are experts in this space to see if there’s an opportunity to use this as supportive housing.”
The main issue in resolving this problem lies in the difficulty associated with simultaneously getting people off the street and into permanent housing.
Given the large number of those who inhabit the area combined with it being an epicenter of the city’s opioid crisis, a long-term solution may be further off than most officials would prefer.