Changes on the way to program housing homeless families in hotels

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)– Changes to the state’s program that shelters homeless families in hotels and motels are coming in the next two months.

Hotels throughout the common wealth currently serve as emergency shelter to homeless families.

For the first time in 16 years, the state will take over that program and all it’s responsibilities including its 368-thousand dollar a year cost.

Gov. Charlie Baker says the plan is to eventually phase the program out completely. This change comes after the non-profit that used to run the program did not resign it’s contract.

Friends of the Homeless Director, Bill Miller, told 22News this may be a good opportunity for the state to re-evaluate the hotel-motel program.

“It’s not a good set up for the families it’s not an efficient use of resources in other words it s expensive and the general public clearly doesn’t like it either, it just doesn’t seem smart,” Miller said.

Miller also said that phasing the program out will mean an increased need for transitional support care to better aid families to take steps to permanent housing.

“Our hope for any one who is homeless is that they are able to obtain housing and we know that takes a lot of work some families or some individuals don’t need a lot of support they can kind of rebound in they’re own and others do,” Miller told 22News.

Massachusetts is unique to most states in its right to shelter. That means, as state phases the program out they will need to find alternate housing for the more than 13 hundred families currently living in hotels throughout the state.

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