By Robyn Frost and Sue Heilman

The Patrick administration is seeking new and innovative ways to deal with the growing number of families experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts. Under a Housing First strategy, the governor is seeking to hold the state’s housing agency responsible for finding permanent, affordable housing for homeless families. We applaud the governor’s efforts to find permanent solutions to homelessness.

At the same time, however, Patrick is proposing changes that will limit homeless families’ access to emergency shelter and services. These restrictions should not be implemented as the recession deepens and more families than ever are in need of emergency shelter. Children, who constitute most of the people living as part of a homeless family, will suffer, resulting in long-term harm, at a high cost to society.

Unless supplemental funding to help families with children experiencing homelessness is quickly provided, many of these new limitations will take effect as soon as April 1.
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