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Melnea Cass / Mass. Ave. 2.0

The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard is often referred to as "Mass/Cass." It is an area of Boston with a long history of serving the City's — and the region’s — most vulnerable populations.

For decades, the area has been home to medical providers, homeless shelters, and substance use support services. An unprecedented national substance use crisis has emerged over the last several years. The Mass/Cass area is experiencing an impact on public health, public safety, and quality of life.

The Mass/Cass Strategic Plan was released in October 2019. The plan outlines the City of Boston’s strategy to address these issues.

Focus areas

Focus areas
Coordinated Response Team (CRT)

The team directs all short- and long-term strategies in the Mass/Cass neighborhood. The CRT is comprised of leadership in relevant City departments:

The CRT team communicates daily. They coordinate public health, public safety, and quality-of-life efforts in the Mass/Cass area.

Mass/Cass Task Force

The task force advises the City of Boston on the Mass/Cass 2.0 plan. It is made up of:

  • neighborhood stakeholders
  • service providers
  • elected officials
  • businesses, and
  • academic partners.

The City of Boston operates several public health programs and initiatives in the Mass/Cass area, including:

Street Outreach Team

A full-time team solely focused on Mass/Cass area. This team directs people to services in the area, offers health supplies, and picks up needle debris. 


A treatment navigation program that places people in all levels of substance use treatment. 


The program offers harm reduction services. These include syringe supplies, STI/HIV testing, and risk reduction counseling. 

Two emergency shelters

The Southampton Street Shelter serves men, and the Woods Mullen Shelter serves women.

Emergency Medical Services
Community Assistance Team

Responds to non-emergency medical issues on the street.

Mobile Sharps Team

Picks up needle debris across the City of Boston.

The Engagement Center

A low-threshold, drop-in space.

Other programs

The Moms Project, Men’s Health and Recovery, and Behavioral Health Services offering outpatient substance use, mental health, and psychiatric supports for men and women.

  • Dedicated Public Works cleaning crew for the Mass/Cass area.
  • Mobile Sharps Team that picks up syringe debris, citywide
  • Removal and disinfection of public defection on private property, citywide
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