Isaksen said the Salem situation is the first time that anyone in any of the state’s domestic violence shelters has raised the question in Housing Court.
All of the Housing Court cases brought by now-former residents have been settled, and there are no open cases, Waldron acknowledged.
Asked how the shelter could be used as a test case if there are no open cases, Waldron responded in an email: “DCF is rightfully trying to avoid a repeat of what happened last year when guests refused to leave the shelter and Housing Court supported them. The policy issues between protecting the safety of guests in a trauma-informed program and housing rights have not yet been clarified.”
Waldron said she and DCF have exchanged a series of draft removal policies requested in the DCF’s report, including a set of revisions she completed yesterday.
Waldron believes that because the shelter provides services such as safety planning, crisis prevention and intervention, advocacy, support groups, parenting support, child care, and information referrals, it should not be prohibited from immediately removing residents who become disruptive or who might pose a risk to others.
Since April, when HAWC stopped accepting new placements at the shelter, the organization has paid for 48 nights in area motels for clients, Waldron said.
The organization has continued to receive state funding for the six rooms in the shelter, at a rate of $151.28 per room per day, Isaksen said.
Waldron said the shelter’s employees are continuing to be paid as they take part in training and work in HAWC offices.
HAWC is continuing its work outside the shelter, which includes staffing a 24-hour hotline, running support groups, providing legal assistance and individual assistance to victims of domestic violence, and working with police and medical workers to prevent abuse and assist victims.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.