Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More public outcry about the Emergency Assistance shelter crisis

On Tuesday, April 9, our staff attended a press conference at the Massachusetts State House on the impact of the current Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter regulations on homeless children and families.

At the event, the Mass Law Reform Institute (MLRI) released a new report on the homelessness crisis, "Out in the Cold: Homeless Children in Crisis in Massachusetts," and welcomed speakers who, due to the new regulations, were forced to sleep in "places not fit for human habitation" before receiving EA. Speakers included a woman who, nine months pregnant and with a four-year-old child, was denied shelter and thus slept on a public beach in order to get the official verification (from the authorities who discovered the family) to prove that she and her family were truly homeless under the Department of Housing and Community Development rules.

PPUF concurs with MLRI and countless other human service organizations that families should not have to sleep in "places not fit for human habitation" in order to receive EA shelter. 

At the event,  MLRI proposed a simple solution to all of the EA hubbub:
"The solution is to amend the language in line item 7004-0101 to ensure that families who have no where else to go are placed in shelter when they are at 'at imminent risk of staying in a place not meant for human habitation...'"

See for the full report released at yesterday's press conference.