Councillor Andrea Campbell turned her mayoral campaign’s focus to the public health issue that addiction and homelessness pose to the city last Friday during a walking tour of the neighborhood around Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard — dubbed Mass & Cass – where the problem has long been out in the open.
The visit was meant to highlight a plan released on her campaign’s website that day that includes a call for the appointment of a cabinet-level official who will organize city resources to deal with the situation.
“The public health crisis at Mass & Cass has been building for years, but has been exacerbated by Covid-19, threatening the health and safety of everyone in the neighborhood,” Campbell said. “It demands immediate leadership and action,” she added. “My approach will establish dedicated leadership by appointing a cabinet-level Mass & Cass chief to drive a coordinated, public health response and decentralization plan that will build sustainable paths to recovery citywide and ensure the health and safety of all who live, work, visit, and go to school in this neighborhood.”
Campbell, who grew up in Roxbury and the South End and lived on Mass Ave., just blocks from Boston Medical Center, said that in addition to assigning a public health professional to lead a coordinated response to the crisis, she would deploy a “dedicated first responder unit” and “decentralize” treatment and recovery services by making them more widely available citywide.
Like the Walsh administration, Campbell supports the construction of a new bridge to Long Island and she calls for more immediate construction of docks and infrastructure to re-boot the city’s recovery services that have been shuttered on the Harbor island since 2015.
Campbell, a Mattapan resident, wants to create partnerships with hospitals and community health centers to decentralize treatment services and create more safe spaces, shelter, and supportive housing by activating vacant and underutilized spaces and expanding mobile treatment services.
Campbell announced her candidacy for mayor last September. She has represented District 4 on the council since unseating longtime incumbent Charles Yancey in 2014.