HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – The state is housing more homeless families at another hotel in western Massachusetts.
The 22News I-Team has received information from the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) that there are nine homeless families being housed in Hadley. Town and local state officials have been notified.
The Hadley Town Administrator Carolyn Brennan confirmed that the families are being housed at the Knights Inn. She provided this statement to 22News:
The Town of Hadley was notified approximately two weeks ago by the Executive office of Housing and Livable Communities that the Knights Inn establishment, located in Hadley, has been designated as a Supplemental Shelter for unhoused families.
At the end of last week, the Town was informed that four families had been moved into the hotel. The Town Administrator, Carolyn Brennan, immediately pulled together a task force to establish a structured way to provide for basic needs, ensure that families were cared for and that the town had a holistic understanding of how to prepare to meet those needs.
Representatives from Public Safety, Board of Health, the Building Commissioner, the School Superintendent and Town Administration met to prepare a communication process and identify resources. While the Police Department met with the National Guard to hear about potential stress points and concerns shared by other supplemental shelters in the state, several other department heads went directly to the site to perform common fire and building safety inspections. They also met with the families and discovered that there were 34 individuals, including 12 children, requiring various services and began to assess the situation.
The School Superintendent met with the families to coordinate an orientation for the children (which is scheduled for today) and to learn more individual needs and answer questions.
Although there are presently no direct costs for Hadley associated with the housing of the families, departments are keeping track of any expenditures they incur and it is anticipated that the Governor will release funds to reimburse municipalities for their expenses.
The Task Force met with state entities to express their concerns earlier this week and will continue to meet to ensure that the impact on the town’s resources and staff are minimalized and the families at the Knights Inn are cared for adequately during their transition to temporary housing.Carolyn Brennan, Hadley Town Administrator
Brennan says that if residents have any questions or concerns to contact her office. She says her office is also working on facilitating donations to help these families as we head in winter.
According to the state, there are more than 90 municipalities statewide hosting families in need:
- There are currently 7,119 families in the emergency family shelter system as of 10/23/23.
- The emergency family shelter system serves both long-term Massachusetts residents and new arrivals to the state.
- It is estimated that nearly 1/2 of the current shelter population are new arrivals to the state.
- Approximately half of the family shelter population are children.
The EOHLC says the state pays to shelter families, including supplemental hotels and meals. School districts receive emergency aid for transportation, enrollment, and other extra costs associated with educating homeless students at a rate of $104 per student per day.
The Governor has asked for aid from the Federal Government to help in this housing crisis but has yet to receive any confirmation of funding or other support.
Last week, Governor Healey said that by the end of October the state will no longer be able to add more units to its emergency shelter system. The need has been expanding at a faster rate for emergency housing due to the increase of newly arriving migrant families and slower exits of families in long-term emergency shelter stays. The state will not be able to accommodate more than 7,500 families, or approximately 24,000 individuals, and is expected to max out housing options by the end of the month.
Beginning November 1, Healey said the state will begin turning away families seeking shelter. Those in need of emergency housing assistance will be assessed through a health and personal safety screening. If there is no room that night in the state shelter system, families “will be placed on a waitlist maintained by our administration and will be provided information about shelter alternatives and community resources,” according to Healey’s office.
Massachusetts is the only state in the country that is a “right to shelter state,” a state law enacted in 1983 that guarantees emergency housing to homeless families and pregnant women.
You can view the latest information on the number of families in shelters by city and town on the Mass.gov website.
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