Most homeless in hotels to visit family, friends for holidays; then, back to hotels
GREENFIELD — Only a handful of the homeless families living in local hotels will spend their holidays in the hotels.
According to Charity Day, the local official coordinating care for the families placed here by state homelessness officials, 80 percent of the 46 families remaining in the Quality Inn on the Mohawk Trail and Days Inn on Colrain Road and waiting to hear from the state that it has found permanent housing for them, will spend the holidays with family or friends.
“They’ll only go to stay with family or friends for a short time and then they’ll be back to their hotel rooms,” said Day.
She said there are currently 30 families from Franklin County living in the hotels and 16 from other parts of the state, including Springfield and Holyoke.
In September, there were 30 destitute families living in just one of the Greenfield hotels, but in October, that number suddenly rose to 93, because the state sent homeless families from the eastern part of the state to stay in Greenfield.
Those who lived back East have returned there to permanent housing, but for a few weeks both hotels became almost exclusively de facto homeless shelters.
Day said no local agency has planned a holiday dinner for the homeless families still living in Greenfield, because so many will be away.
She said the Center for Self Reliance on Osgood Street will provide bags of food to all of the homeless families on Monday.
“We also collected a holiday wish list, so each child will receive a toy and some sort of clothing, like pajamas or socks,” said Day.
There are 125 children, ages ranging from infant to teenager, living with their families in local hotels, said Day.
The state is paying $82 per day per room for families to stay at the two hotels. That’s $2,460 per room per 30-day month, and some families occupy more than one room.
“We’ve had great community support,” said Day. “But, we’re still looking for donations. The need never stops.”
Day said each child also receives a birthday gift if they are still living in one of the hotels when their birthday arrives.
Day said Rural Development Inc., a nonprofit created by Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority in Turners Falls, the organization Day works for, will be collecting toys, gifts and monetary donations for the holiday until Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at 44 Canal Road in Turners Falls.
She said people may drop off toys and gifts on Monday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Day said RDI will also pick up donations — call 413-863-9781.
Day said online donations will be accepted at: www.ruraldevelopmentinc.org.
Day said donations of all types will continue to be accepted after the holidays for everyday necessities.
Monetary donations may also be sent to RDI, 44 Canal Road, Turners Falls, MA 01376.