Editor’s Note: The following article is taken from Representative Ken Gordon’s June 18 newsletter
Occupancy at the Bedford Plaza Hotel, which once housed 88 homeless families in transition from Boston and the surrounding area, is just one family away from the goal set by Rep. Gordon during a crowded town-hall forum less than eight months ago.
The number of students from the hotel educated in the Bedford schools stands at 17, down from more than 50 when school began, and the number of children transported to their home community is 23, down by nearly half.
“Last October I stood before more than 300 people at a televised town hall forum and assured residents I had taken our concerns to the top administrators at the agency that assigns the families,” said Rep. Gordon. “It was not that Bedford refused to do its fair share to address homelessness in our Commonwealth, it was that Bedford was being asked to do much more than its share. I determined that Bedford’s fair share would be approximately 25 families, taking into consideration its population and the number of homeless families in the program, and together with Schools Superintendent Jon Sills and Town Manager Rick Reed we received the assurance from Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein that Bedford’s assignment would be reduced to be in line with other towns.
“We put in place an arrangement whereby no new families would be assigned to the Bedford Plaza until the occupancy was reduced to 25 families, and families then living at the hotel would be placed in better situations. I had no way to tell the pace with which this could be accomplished, but I surmised that within 8 months was the expected timeframe.
“I am very pleased that this plan was carried out, our promises kept, and the results are positive. The hotel will not see a re-population of transitional families other than to replace those families transferred in the future.”