BOSTON (SHNS) – The MBTA and the Department of Transportation will convert a group of conference rooms in their downtown Boston headquarters into temporary shelters for about two dozen families as the Healey administration continues to grapple with enormous strain on the emergency shelter system.
Conference rooms on the second floor of the State Transportation Building will serve as a “short-term shelter location for up to 25 families to stay overnight until a more permanent location can be identified,” MBTA General Manager Phil Eng announced in an email to staff.
Eng said he envisions the temporary shelter remaining open for about two weeks. Massachusetts National Guard personnel will set up the site in second-floor conference rooms at 10 Park Plaza, and an unnamed service provider will manage its operations, Eng said.
“I have been asked if there are families needing clothing or other essentials. Family needs will be assessed, and if there is a need, we are considering launching a clothing drive. Should that be necessary, I will share that information with employees,” Eng wrote. “I appreciate everyone’s support as we enter Thanksgiving week. While we celebrate with our families and friends, know that we are helping others during their time of need. I wish all of you an enjoyable holiday with your loved ones.”
The Boston Globe first reported the news, and a T spokesperson provided the News Service with a copy of Eng’s message to the agency.
Although Massachusetts by law must provide shelter to eligible families and pregnant women, Gov. Maura Healey this month implemented a 7,500-family cap on the shelter system after months of rapidly increasing demand.
House and Senate Democrats haven’t been able to decide whether to order the administration to stand up at least one “overflow site” to support families placed on a waitlist while the system is at capacity, and $250 million in additional funds for the shelter system remain on hold pending the outcome of conference committee negotiations.