SHREWSBURY (CBS) — Town officials say they wish they had been given a heads up before 60 homeless families were placed at the Days Inn located on Route 9.
Now, it’s up to the town to shoulder the unexpected burden, including costs to educate more than 100 homeless children.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
Under the federal McKinney-Venton Homeless Assistance Act, school districts must provide transportation of homeless students who are placed in motels and other temporary housing outside their hometown.
“These rooms become available on a very short notice apparently. This facility became available and they started moving families in and we had no warning,” Town Manager Dan Morgato said. “Just for our school department to have a week or two notice that they are going to receive x amount of children.”
According to an article in the Worcester Telegram, State Rep. Matthew Beaton is concerned that the new owners of the Days Inn recently purchased it with the intent to use it as a state emergency shelter for homeless families.
The Days Inn receives an $82 a day reimbursement from the state, for each room used to house a homeless family. The regular room rate is closer to $72.
The state says Shrewsbury will be reimbursed, but officials wonder if there could be a better way to handle the problem.
“No one is saying this is a great solution. We don’t fault the participants, by the grace of God any one of us could end up in this situation,” Morgato said. “But is this the best use of public funds?”
The families, including 140 children, moved in around Thanksgiving.
Morgato says despite the hardship, the town will not turn their backs on those in need.
Several fundraisers, collections and a holiday party have been set up to help the kids living in the motel.