Kelsey Schiller (HED)

Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Intake Center to Facilitate Emergency Shelter Needs

DEVENS – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced plans to establish and maintain a temporary central intake center as part of the Commonwealth’s response to substantially increased demand on the emergency assistance shelter system. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will temporarily utilize the Bob Eisengrein Community Center in Devens as an intake center where up to 60 families (125 individuals maximum) at a time can reside during their first few days in shelter and receive timely case management services and various intake assessments before being transferred to an emergency assistance site or another more permanent housing solution.

The temporary site will open in early December and remain open for at least four months. Families will stay at the intake center for a few days, where they will receive housing case management, human services and case management, and if eligible, will be enrolled in state benefits.

The intake center will be operated by MEMA in partnership with a shelter provider. The center will be equipped to provide short-term congregate lodging, food, and laundry services for resident families.

“Thanks to collaboration from MEMA, the Department of Housing and Community Development, Devens community leaders, and various partners, the Commonwealth is quickly standing up a temporary intake center to more effectively respond to increased demand for shelter from new arrivals and individuals experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “By creating a centralized space to conduct intake activities before families are placed in their emergency assistance site, we will be able to better assess the needs of these individuals and better prepare communities for the arrival of families to shelter sites in their city or town.”

On November 18, Governor Charlie Baker filed a $139 million Fiscal Year 2023 supplemental budget to support the Commonwealth’s response to substantially increased demand on the emergency assistance shelter system, including $20 million to establish and maintain a temporary central intake center. The targeted funding and policy changes in this bill will provide resources to expand emergency shelter capacity to address an uptick in need for these services, which is driven in part by a recent increase in migrant entries to Massachusetts, due to federal immigration policy.

A former U.S. Army base in central Massachusetts, Devens is being redeveloped by MassDevelopment into a mixed-use community and is currently home to approximately 950 residents and 100 businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations.
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