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State To End Program Placing Homeless Chelmsford Families in Hotels

The program has placed 23 local families in hotels.

 

The state Dept. of Housing and Community Development plans to end a program that places homeless Chelmsford families, including 52 children in hotels, according to the Boston Globe.

The program, which started during the 1980s, would end by June 30, 2014. 

According to the most recent state figures, here is the breakdown of how many people stayed here in Chelmsford at the Best Western.

School-Aged Children Non-School-Aged Children Total Children Total Families 35 16 51 23

With the closing of the program in 2013, the state plans to bolster efforts to find permanent housing and prevent homelessness, according to the Globe. However, housing advocates fear permanent housing for program participants may never be found, according to the Globe.

The decision comes as the economic downturn stretched the program to its 2,000 hotel room limit, according to the Globe. 

Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary for DHCD, told the Globe the program is not an "efficient" use of taxpayer money.

While the program gives needy families shelter, it leaves them without places for their children to play or to cook a meal, and burdens taxpayers with a hefty bill, according to the Globe. The program costs state taxpayers $45 million annually.

The program also places families in hotels in Framingham, Burlington, Bedford, Danvers, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Northborough, Tewksbury, Woburn and Framingham, according to the Massachusetts State Auditor's Office. 

The number of families in hotels statewide has jumped over the last two years: In December 2010, 771 families were in hotels rooms; by December of last year, around 1,700 families were in hotels. 

Chelmsford has also struggled with unfundated mandates from the state surrounding bussing of homeless children to school as well in recent years.

ChelmsfordMom January 09, 2013 at 10:12 PM
I just hope these families, especially the kids, end up in a good place. Breaks my heart to see kids living in a one room hotel. Very sad.

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