To tackle addiction crisis, housing and services must be combined

May 23, 2022

By Julie Burns
The Boston Globe

Nowhere in New England is the opioid crisis more visible than at Boston’s intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, even months after the area was cleared of tents (“A problem that can’t be swept away,” Page A1, May 12). We are grateful for the front-line providers and harm reductionists at work there. They, like all of us, are eager for solutions that will prevent further heartbreak and loss.

Our organization brings leaders in addressing addiction and housing together to discuss best practices through a series of learning communities about harm reduction and low-threshold housing. Housing must be considered a basic human right. When housing and comprehensive wraparound services are combined, it fosters a sense of home, helping to integrate individuals back into their communities and not just at concentrated sites where they are at higher risk of drug use and crime. There is a lot of interest and potential among providers to figure this out.

We must invest in these types of models to make a long-lasting difference at Mass. and Cass and beyond. Because the crisis of addiction can’t be solved overnight, it will take patience and persistence to see these new approaches through.

Julie Burns

President and CEO