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January 2, 2013

Mass. to stop housing homeless families in hotels

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts intends to phase out a program that places homeless families in hotels and motels at taxpayer expense when there is no room in emergency shelters.

Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development, says the state aims to phase out the program by June 2014.

It cost the state $45 million during the 2012 fiscal year as some families stayed in hotels for months.

Homeless families are placed in hotels when the 2,000 rooms in the state's family emergency shelter system reach capacity. There were 1,700 families in hotels last month.

Gornstein said the program is not an efficient use of resources. Most hotels have no cooking facilities or play spaces for children.

Advocates for the homeless worry families will end up on the streets.

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