Gornstein said the state does have a residency requirement for emergency shelters, but there are constitutional problems with setting a strict residency time period.
“It’s the last resort,” Gornstein said of the hotel shelter program. “We know it’s not an ideal situation.” Families live in one room, often with little in the way of cooking facilities besides a microwave oven and a refrigerator. Often, families have no access to public transportation.
Marquis, who serves on an advisory board to the governor’s Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, said it became clear to him the program would not end when Gornstein called him about two weeks ago to ask whether Danvers intends to run its Project Sunshine summer program for homeless school-age children living in motels.
The Recreation Department staff are making plans to run the program for the fourth summer in a row, Marquis said.
The $35,000 cost, however, is paid for entirely through donations, and Gornstein was calling to offer state help. Marquis said he is thankful for the offer and Gornstein’s efforts, and also hopes the community will step up to help pay for the program again this summer.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.
Year over year homeless families in Danvers motels
2/15/12 2/5/13 2/18/14
Total families 110 162 180
School age children (ages 5-18) 86 114 165
Non-school-age children 87 139 148
Total children 173 253 313
Source: Town of Danvers