Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A tent set up at Cambridge City Hall on Wednesday, its second day at the site. (Photo: Marc Levy)

A tent set up Tuesday on the lawn at Cambridge’s City Hall holds an unhoused couple who plan to stay “until they provide us with shelter.”

The situation was more complicated, said Maria Melo, director of the city’s Multi-Service Center, on Wednesday. The couple has received “a lot of outreach” but hasn’t agreed to relocate, she said.

“We’re very aware” of the couple, who have been visited by “multiple outreach teams,” Melo said. “Hopefully they will respond.”

Communication with the couple was difficult – the man who spoke Wednesday declined to come outside, but did peer for a while through a slit made by the tent zipper – and complicated by some likely mental health issues: The man identified himself only as Git a Pushy, the name found on a wheelchair outside the tent, and said his companion and wife had been replaced by an imposter. He referred to her as “a woman who appears to be my wife.”

The couple came from Illinois and had tried setting up camp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but was removed, the man said. “They keep barking at us,” he said, and he believed the the state Department of Conservation and Recreation had taken their belongings. “They seized our property with no compensation.”

The school seemed to be conflated with the rest of Cambridge. When asked about setting up his tent on the lawn of Cambridge City Hall, the man referred to it as MIT property.

He was vague on whether officials or outreach experts had approached him about the couple’s well-being. A City Hall employee said he’d been seen there in the days before the tent was set up, and Melo said the couple had been known to Multi-Service Center workers for around two months.