BOSTON, MASS. – Pine Street Inn, Boston’s largest homeless shelter, will be moving 180 shelter clients to the defunct Best Western Plus Boston Hotel.
Due to the pandemic and the need for physical distancing, shelter clients were residing at a Suffolk University dorm since April. They will be moved to the hotel, which will provide temporary housing for a population of primarily frail or vulnerable men and women.
Pine Street Inn will provide specially-trained housing placement teams to work develop housing plans and achieve permanent housing placement for all residents within 12 months.
There will be around-the-clock staffing and security at the new location.
Here in New Hampshire, as a result of the pandemic, Manchester saw nearly 200 homeless people living rough in outdoor encampments, many of them fearful of shelter life and safety concerns over COVID-19. The encampments, which have been spread out around the city, were supported by emergency funding from the state for eight weeks as the state’s largest shelter, Families in Transition/New Horizons, sanitized the main shelter, made improvements and opened two satellite shelters.
However, that funding stream has expired and the city is grappling with how to fill the limited number of available shelter beds again – and find enough supplemental beds to safely house all those in need of shelter. The city has appealed repeatedly to the state to do more to address the lack of affordable housing options statewide and supportive housing for low-income families and those who live in the margins due to unemployment or mental health and addiction issues.
Concerns have been raised about unsanitary conditions among the various homeless camps now that onsite port-a-potties and running water have been removed.
The city has been part of a multi-agency outreach team that continues to work on the issue while awaiting word on how the state will distribute designated funding, including $15 million from the CARES Act announced in June by Gov. Sununu to increase the number of beds and meals for more than 1,000 residents of the state who are homeless or have insecure housing situations.