From WCVB Channel 5: With shelters at capacity, groups urge Massachusetts to establish overflow site

By Sharman Sacchetti, November 10, 2023

BOSTON — With Massachusetts’ emergency shelter system for homeless families now over-capacity, organizations that serve the homeless say they are overloaded and are pushing for a state-sponsored overflow plan.

“Already adult shelters are full. They’re at capacity. This is a crisis that’s happening on both the family and adult side,” said Karen LaFrazia, president and CEO of St. Francis House.

That shelter, the largest day shelter in Massachusetts, is located in downtown Boston and is open every day of the year. It serves up to 500 people every day.

State family shelters were supposed to be capped at 7,500 families, according to Gov. Maura Healey’s announcement. That threshold was reached on Thursday and the reported number of families in the state system as of Friday afternoon was 7,545.

LaFrazia said St. Francis House has been visited by some migrant families who are looking for assistance.

“The migrant issue has had a significant impact in the numbers of people finding themselves homeless,” said LaFrazia.

Starting Friday, additional families seeking help from the state shelter system were supposed to be put on a waiting list.

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