HCN News & Notes

Greenfield Expands Emergency Shelter for Families Experiencing Homelessness

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner recently received notification from Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities that a number of families with children will be provided emergency temporary housing in Greenfield.

Massachusetts is facing a critical shortage of affordable housing, and that shortage is contributing to housing instability. To address this shortage, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities intends to use a Greenfield hotel as the temporary shelter for these families, which may include many school-age children. The city is working with the state agency to understand the impact on various town services and identify key supportive needs in preparation for welcoming these vulnerable families.

The mayor convened several meetings this week with city officials, including school, public-safety, and health officials, as well as members of the local legislative delegation, to discuss support and welcome for these families, and how the presence of additional families in Greenfield may impact the community. Superintendent Christine Debarge is working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to see what support may be needed for children in the shelter for the remaining 10 days of school.

As of June 1, 14 families had arrived, and Housing & Livable Communities expects as many as 50 rooms to be occupied in the coming days. The city will be coordinating with a nonprofit service provider and Housing & Livable Communities to keep the public updated.

“Although this is quite sudden and could have some significant impacts on the city, we are willing to work cooperatively with the provider and the Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities to make our city as welcoming as possible within our means,” Wedegartner said. “We will continue to work daily with the state until we are certain that all of the families are settled safely and the city remains safe.”