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Boston’s New Mayor Tries a Different Tack on Homelessness

Don’t call it a sweep, homeless advocates say: Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan to remove a notorious encampment is starkly different than her predecessor’s approach 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks to reporters about her visit to Long Island in Boston on Jan. 4, 2022. 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks to reporters about her visit to Long Island in Boston on Jan. 4, 2022. 

Photographer: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Homeless encampments don’t have a long history in Boston — the city’s often-frigid climate can be awfully hostile to rough sleeping.

So the tent city at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, a site known as Mass. and Cass, stands as a testament to the brutal tenacity of the affordable housing crunch, Covid-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic. At its peak size, about 300 people called Mass. and Cass home, and even during the depths of the New England winter scores of tents remained.