BOSTON (WWLP) – The shelter cap was not only reached but surpassed Thursday. With winter coming, what is the plan to assist with homeless families?

There are officially 7,545 families and pregnant individuals in emergency shelter in Massachusetts. This means new regulations allowing the shelter system to turn people away has been triggered, even though Massachusetts is a right to shelter state. It’s estimated that around half of those in shelter are new arrivals.

With the temperature dropping, there is still no actual plan on Beacon Hill other than a wait list for families that are turned away from shelter.

The Healey Administration seems to be focused on moving people out of shelter, they’re doing this through housing vouchers, rental aid and assisting migrants through the work permit process.

“If we are following the administration’s projects, over the next couple weeks, over the next couple months, there will be thousands of families who will be in this situation where they potentially have no place to sleep, so I do think we should be concerned about emergency rooms, churches, soup kitchens, being you know, people showing up there and looking for a place to stay,” said Andrea Park of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

Healey requested funding for the shelter crisis in September, but the House didn’t take it up until this past Wednesday in their supplemental budget. The House did include $50 million for overflow sites but even if that passes the Senate and becomes law, the launch date of those sites wouldn’t happen until mid-December at the earliest.

It’s likely that the Senate will take up the supplemental budget sometime next week, as formal lawmaking for the year ends on November 15th.

Local News

Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.