Greenfield to increase shelter for the homeless

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Greenfield is working with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and pertinent service agencies to increase shelter access for the homeless population within the city.

The city of Greenfield is part of a regionwide effort in working with the Western Mass Network to End Homelessness to increase access to shelter services. The Greenfield Common has been the sight of homeless encampments in the past.

Last winter, two people were found dead inside a tent in a wooded area in Greenfield. In order to help protect the homeless in the cold months, the city’s Wells Street Shelter received a private donation to fund a renovation that will add more bathrooms, showers and create more separation.

MJ Adams, the city’s Community and Economic Development director explained why the city is also pursuing a daytime warming center as well.

“It’s not only the shelters not being able to take in people to sleep in at night but it’s also a daytime issue as to where people can go during the day,” Adams said. “Those public places where people can be out of the weather aren’t open this winter.”

As to what would happen in the cold once the shelters get full in the winter, Adams said the city is working on having a limited number of hotel rooms available on extremely cold nights.

Mayor Wedegartner and the Office of Community and Economic Development provided the following updates on the status of homelessness in Greenfield in a news release sent to 22News:

  • The Wells Street Shelter at 60 Wells Street is currently under construction to increase the number of available beds. The construction involves additional bathrooms, showers, and some smoke/fire separation
  • There are emergency contingency plans in place for dangerously cold nights coordinated through the Wells Street Shelter if the shelter is at maximum capacity
  • The city is working with other municipalities in western Massachusetts and the Western Mass Network to End Homelessness to address the regional need for shelter services
  • Greenfield is currently pursuing options in the city for a daytime warming center and will be informing the public of these updates as soon as they are available

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