Guest Op-Ed: Setting the Record Straight on the Quality Inn

By Mayor Brian Arrigo

When I published my letter several weeks ago with concerns over the Boston Public Health Commission’s plans to relocate unhoused individuals to the Quality Inn, I knew that in breaking the story I was protecting our city’s residents from mismanagement, shortsightedness, and catastrophe. The letter came after several weeks of frustrating dead-end conversations with a variety of entities involved in the so-called plan; when I learned that Revere was the only city Boston had identified it became clear there were no regional solutions on the table and instead just ad hoc displacement of these vulnerable people. At that point, enough was enough. To repeat what was made clear in that letter: I as Mayor will not allow the relocation of individuals from the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard to the Quality Inn under Boston’s plans.

My administration’s response covered all necessary areas of action to ensure that the BPHC’s plan did not go forward. The letter, published in full in the September 22, 2021 edition of the Revere Journal, was only the public portion of our response, and in fact is the only reason our residents and the greater community were made aware of the plan at all. Given the immense public outcry on social media and in the City Council Chambers that following Monday, the letter was a resounding success in organizing opposition to the dangerous plan. The level of discussion taking place at a regional level in response to the crisis on Mass and Cass also marks the strength of the letter in forcing our public officials—from Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins to Attorney General Maura Healey to Governor Charlie Baker—to reckon with the coordination necessary to solve one of our region’s most pressing issues. My administration is more than willing to be a part of a real regional solution and hope our advocacy will lead to a more comprehensive plan for Revere, Boston, and the Commonwealth.

Of course, public statements don’t always cover every detail of the tangible operations of municipalities. My administration also pursued legal action to prevent the BPHC from using the hotel as a homeless transitional shelter. The Quality Inn is licensed to operate as a hotel, a category significantly distinct from that of a homeless transitional shelter, and such a change in operations would not comply with our local regulations. We prepared legal communications to the BPHC, their service providers, and the Quality Inn informing them that a cease and desist would be issued promptly should they attempt to violate City ordinance and operate an unlawful use for which no license may be granted. The BPHC and Quality Inn have no legal way to relocate people from Mass and Cass to the Quality Inn and operate as a homeless transitional shelter, and there has been no further action on their part to attempt to do so.

Thanks to my administration, the leadership in this city, and the organizing efforts of our residents, the plan has been stopped dead in its tracks.

Unfortunately, this does not stop political opportunists from using the matter as a means to grandstand and spread misinformation in the pages of this journal, sowing fear among our city’s families and distrust toward local government. When you haven’t been involved in your community for years and have few positive ideas to offer, reacting to the tangible efforts of an administration devoted to protecting the health of safety of our families is one of the few ways to boost your profile ahead of an election. The fact that this opportunism comes at the cost of residents’ sense of safety ought to be a deep shame.

Regardless, my administration will continue to deliver positivity, growth, and safety for Revere’s residents and ensure we do not face the burden of the City of Boston’s mismanagement. Using all of the powers of the Mayor’s Office I will continue to push for real solutions to this human crisis.

Brian Arrigo is the Mayor of Revere.

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