Clinical services for homeless people and those struggling with addiction at the Roundhouse hotel, located in the thick of Mass. and Cass, will continue through July, pushing back the initial shutdown by several months, officials said Wednesday.
The state’s Executive Office of Health & Human Services said that the agency, along with city authorities, will continue “to provide funding to Boston Medical Center to maintain clinical support services at the Roundhouse program through July 31.” Such a move will “allow for a well-planned winddown of services and transition of patients to appropriate clinical settings as needed.”
Last month, Boston Medical Center said it planned to shut its clinical programs for addiction treatment at the Roundhouse hotel near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard by the end of March because of a lack of long-term funding.
The hope, according to state officials, is that the winddown of services — as opposed to an abrupt closure — will help lower the overall risk of overdose deaths and emergency department visits, as well as increase access to medical services and linkages to housing and appropriate addiction treatment care.
A spokeswoman for the state’s Executive Office of Health & Human Services said in a statement Wednesday that the agency “will continue to support long-term, decentralized, strategies . . . that focus on providing successful, evidence-based long-term housing and clinical supports for individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness and substance-use disorder.”
In a Wednesday statement, Jon Latino, a spokesman for the Boston Public Health Commission, said addressing the opioid crisis and helping those in need remains a top priority for city officials.
“We will continue to collaborate with our partners in state government to address this crisis through public health policies that support the health and wellbeing of our residents and continue evaluating potential sites and clinical offerings for future services,” Latino said.
The Roundhouse hosts 60 transitional housing units, and offers services that help connect people living at Mass. and Cass to addiction services such as a methadone clinic and help with housing. The goal is to provide medical care, such as treatment for addiction, so that a person could successfully move into housing.
Another service at the Roundhouse is designed to manage withdrawal and intoxication for patients during stays of under 24 hours, and connect patients with additional addiction treatment and housing services.
The Roundhouse building, a defunct Best Western hotel, is located near ground zero of a crime-plagued area that has turned into an open-air illicit drug market.
The proximity to that crisis zone has led to pushback from residents and businesses, who would like to see its programming sited elsewhere, farther away from the temptation at Mass. and Cass.
But supporters of the Roundhouse said its model of services has shown promise and should be replicated. And the state spokeswoman pointed out Wednesday that people the Roundhouse serves were previously living in homeless encampments in the area.
Danny McDonald can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.