GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Greenfield is now home to dozens of families who are seeking shelter in Massachusetts. Forty-eight families made up of 150 people are living at the Days Inn on Colrain Road.
Mayor Roxann Wedegartner told the 22News I-Team that the state let her know about the incoming families less than 24 hours before they arrived when she got a call from Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.
“It didn’t give us much notice at all,” said Mayor Wedegartner. “So obviously I was a little taken aback by that. But, it’s important that once we knew these folks were in our community, that we do everything that the city can to not only make sure that they are safe where they are but also that we welcome them.”
The Mayor said the city is working with the state to figure out what services these families will need, including enrolling children in area schools.
“The School Department got right in the first week they were here and began to register them for school, and learn and access what services they were going to need,” Mayor Wedegartner said. “By and large, most of them are not English speaking.”
The Mayor says they are all legal immigrants originally from South America and the Caribbean.
According to a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, formerly known as the Department of Housing and Community Development, one-third of people seeking shelter in Massachusetts right now are new arrivals.
Another issue is the high cost of living. The spokesperson for the Office of Housing and Livable Communities said shelters across the state are seeing low exit rates because families just can’t find affordable housing. That is reflected in the number of people seeking shelter:
The Greenfield Health Department was able to secure three rooms at the Days Inn for homeless people in Greenfield who are in an emergency situation.
“For instance, someone who’s been hospitalized but now needs to be discharged from the hospital, and can’t go home because they don’t have a home,” Mayor Wedegartner explained. “This is a temporary solution until there’s a better solution.”
The 22News I-Team previously reported on families being housed at the Clarion Inn in West Springfield.
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