Advocates balk at stay-on-street rule to qualify for shelter

August 22, 2017 - 12:00 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Advocates for homeless families in Massachusetts are pushing legislation that would remove a state requirement that they spend at least one night on the streets before being eligible for emergency shelter. reports ( ) the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Housing was scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation Tuesday.

Under cost-cutting regulations adopted under former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, families must first stay overnight in a car, bus station, emergency room or other place "not meant for human habitation." Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has kept the rule in place.

The Baker administration has declined to take a position on the bill.

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless estimates doing away with the rule would cost the state $100,000 to $300,000 per year.

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