SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says he is disappointed with a state plan to relocate more than two dozen homeless families to a downtown hotel.
In a statement sent to 22News, Sarno said the city received notification late Friday afternoon from Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Jennifer Maddox that the state plans to move 30 homeless families from outside western Massachusetts into the Holiday Inn Express on State Street.
“If they had shipped those 30 families here, where would they be? Outside? And then the call would come to us and we’d do whatever we could temporarily on that so it’s not fair to those homeless families,” Sarno told 22News.
Sarno says the decision was made “with no advance notice to the city and the complete lack of proper planning and follow-up information.” Sarno says that Springfield is already struggling to find proper housing for its own residents in need.
Following a conversation with the Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Sarno said they were able to avoid having families come to the city this weekend.
A spokesperson for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) sent a statement to 22News saying in part, “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to ensuring that families experiencing homelessness have access to safe shelter. With our Emergency Assistance system currently at capacity, we have to use every tool in our toolkit to accommodate demand, including utilizing available hotels throughout the state. We are committed to maintaining close communication with communities throughout this process and have been continuing conversations with Springfield to identify locations for future use. The funding our administration requested in our supplemental budget will help expand shelter capacity to meet rising demand and ensure families in crisis have safe, temporary shelter until they can move to a more permanent housing solution.”