A Newmarket initiative to bridge the gap to end the open-air drug market, increase treatment options, and reduce homelessness in Boston and beyond in advance of the long-term recovery campus planned for Long Island.

This project will establish a temporary Recovery Campus at Widett Circle. A portion of this currently unutilized 24-acre publicly owned site in Boston should be home to mental health and drug detox services, workforce development training, and housing options that are safe, stable, and affordable.

Designed as a multi-stage process to accompany each patient through every step of their recovery journey, Recover Boston has received tremendous support from neighborhood organizations, elected officials, advocates, and medical professionals.

 

CBS news article from August 2023 about the proposal: https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/mass-and-cass-recovery-campus-widett-circle-boston/

Recover Boston Initiative Timeline

2014   Long Island Bridge closed With the closure of the Long Island Bridge, over 400 unhoused and/or addicted individuals utilizing services on the island were dispersed and relocated around the city.
2016   Newmarket and the South End Forum collaborate on a plan to present to Mayor Walsh   The South End Task Force formed, made up of local civic leaders and Newmarket Business Association The Newmarket Business Association, the organization that later formed the Newmarket BID, along with members of the South End Forum, approached Mayor Martin Walsh with an initiative that was believed to be essential to addiction recovery in Boston and beyond.  The initiative was to create a long-term recovery campus that would offer a more holistic approach surrounding the treatment of the addicted by providing a safe environment in which they can manage their health, work to overcome addiction, and manage any mental illness.                                                                          The goal was the growth of recovery treatment services in Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts commensurate with the magnitude of the current opioid crisis; and, to create a recovery atmosphere of dignity and respect for those suffering from addiction focused on recovery and long-term stability.
2017   Mayor Walsh embraced the proposed initiative Mayor Walsh embraced the initiative and, since January 2017, Boston has been working toward the creation of such a campus on Long Island with additional growth of services at the Shattuck Hospital Campus.
2018   The South End Task Force brings a comprehensive presentation of observations & initiatives Formed in 2016, the South End Addiction Task Force, made up of local civic leaders and the Newmarket Business Association, worked to gather information and compile a comprehensive plan to help solve both the public health and public safety crisis at Mass & Cass. Toward this end, in 2018 the Task Force presented a set of observations and current initiatives to create change.
2022   January, Mayor Wu removes encampments in “Mass & Cass” area   Later in the year, the South End Task Force provides a 10 Point Change Initiative for the area In January, 2022, Mayor Michelle Wu took the bold step of removing hundreds of encampments from local streets in the Mass & Cass area, and placing large numbers of individuals into temporary shelters.  While this was very successful, it did not solve the root causes of the problems which included the lack of long-term, comprehensive recovery treatment centers and affordable housing. In late 2022, issues on the streets of the South End and Newmarket were growing rapidly, and the South End Task Force produced a 10 Point Initiative for Change in  hopes of working with local officials on achieving its goals.
2023, Spring Problems with the tent encampments have worsened and compounded   Spring, Newmarket put forth a project proposal for a temporary, long-term recovery campus called Recover Boston     Newmarket and the surrounding neighborhoods have become increasingly unsafe due to crime, violence, and human trafficking. People with addiction and mental health issues continue to find themselves on the street with inadequate housing or treatment options available. The Newmarket BID recognizes that it is essential to create a comprehensive and temporary program that can be quickly implemented to reduce homelessness, and put those with substance abuse issues on a realistic path to recovery until long-term proposals can be realized.  We cannot wait for Long Island or Shattuck services to be available in 4-5 years. With this in mind, the BID staff embarked on a mission in the Spring to create an initiative that would bring about major change on the streets.  Once drafted, the staff worked together with the South End Task Force and various city departments to refine the initiative and its goals. The result was a comprehensive plan that would create a long-term, temporary recovery campus (for the next 4 years) and at the same time, insist upon the enforcement of the open air drug and no encampment laws.  Together with the South End Task Force, we presented the Plan to city and state officials and the general public which was met with widespread positive support.
2023, Winter November, City Council approved Mayor Wu’s “No-Tent Ordinance”   November, Mayor Wu led the comprehensive and collaborative efforts to remove the tents and shelter those without homes. Mayor Wu and her staff put forth a comprehensive initiative to house all individuals in the City in shelter/temporary low-threshold housing and to create comprehensive coordination amongst all local care-providers of the addicted and mentally ill.   In addition, the  Boston City Council voted favorably on the Mayor’s request for a “No Tent Ordinance”  throughout the City. The initiative, combined with the Ordinance, has resulted in an extraordinary decrease in the street population across the City.  Those that are in need of assistance are able to access it more easily and the large number of predators (drug dealers and others), that had been preying upon those living in encampments, have been exposed and diminished through arrest and dispersion.
2024 Today, Newmarket continues to work closely with the City of Boston. The “Recover Boston” Initiative continues to be a necessary component of our strategy to provide a temporary,long-term, comprehensive treatment solution. We are working closely with the City of Boston to establish the best time-line and comprehensive plan for its implementation.
 

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