Westborough Emergency Shelter Information
Massachusetts is a Right to Shelter state and the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) is obligated to find shelter for eligible families. Per Section 30 of Part I, Title II, Chapter 23B of the General Laws: “the department shall administer a program of emergency housing assistance to needy families with children and pregnant woman with no other children. The department shall administer the program throughout the commonwealth at locations that are geographically convenient to families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness and shall administer the program in a fair, just and equitable manner.”
In compliance with this law, the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), formerly the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), has been placing families throughout Massachusetts. Due to rapidly rising numbers of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts in need of shelter and services and a severe lack of shelter availability in the state Governor Healey declared a State of Emergency on August 8, 2023.
What does this mean for Westborough?
The Commonwealth has placed approximately 91 families, 244 individuals, at various locations in Westborough. The majority of these families are supported by the South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) through a contract between Massachusetts and SMOC. Approximately 17 migrant families housed in Westborough are not at locations supported by this type of contract but rather receive two meals per day through a state contract and receive additional support from the National Guard, Central Massachusetts Housing, and the Westborough Public Health Department.
The Westborough Public School system is educating approximately 44 students. The State does provide a subsidy payment for educational services.
Additionally, the State is continuing to pursue the development of an Emergency Assistance Shelter through renovation and redevelopment of the Sharp Building that will support approximately 20 families.
The Town has consistently taken the position that we, as a community, expect and understand our part in supporting this crisis however, the support of this crisis should be proportionately carried by all 351 communities. To that end, town officials sent a letter to the administration and have taken other opportunities to assert this position. Town officials meet with representatives of related state agencies every other week to continue to support this crisis and share concerns.
How can you help?
There are currently no specific local requests for help in Westborough as State agencies as well as local community groups have been working in collaboration with Town staff to support these families. Anyone interested in supporting this effort locally should reach out to local community groups and non-profits.
Information about how the public can help the Commonwealth is available at mass.gov/sheltercrisis. Anyone who can offer assistance should contact the state at firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing 211, which will be monitored by MEMA.