At a joint press conference with acting Mayor Kim Janey, Mayor Elect Michelle Wu said hiring a Cabinet-level person to deal with the ongoing crisis at Mass and Cass will be one of her top priorities even before her administration starts on Nov. 16.
Wu did not signal any changes from the current move-out strategy started by Janey, but that as we get "closer to winter life and death temperatures," quick action is vital. She said said she will begin looking at turning vacant city buildings into "low-threshold housing" for people who now live in street tents and to connect them with needed support, to "lead with public health," and not further criminalization of people on the streets.
Janey said she would continue to work with officials in other communities and at the state level to get help for people at Mass and Cass, many of whom are from outside Boston.
In the short press conference, at which she also discussed her priorities in Spanish, Wu said she hopes to continue to take the T - as she did this morning - to City Hall. She said on her ride from Green - near her campaign headquarters - to State Street, she talked to constituents about issues such as Mass and Cass and the high cost of housing in Boston. She said the T is not just a means of transportation but an important "civic space" for such discussions.
She added she is now also looking for leaders for other city efforts, who reflect both the city's diversity and the need to hit the ground running in a city still recovering from the pandemic.
The press conference came after the current and future mayors spent a couple hours going over transition issues. For now, Wu says she's fine working out of he current city-council office. "It's very comfortable and it has everything I need."
Janey said she has no doubts that Wu will be ready for the job by the time she takes the oath of office.