Boston Globe Letter: In our right-to-shelter state, there are better options than motels

Boston Globe
Published February 24, 2023

The plight of homeless families and individuals in Massachusetts is not new (“State’s shelter crisis hits home in Concord,” Page A1, Feb. 17). Given the lack of affordable housing across the state, this situation cannot be a surprise to state or local officials.

Massachusetts should be proud to be a right-to-shelter state. This policy represents our shared value of treating families with dignity and humanity. However, motels are no place for Massachusetts residents to raise their families. Relying on motels can burden school systems, exacerbate health care and nutrition deficits, and isolate neighbors from community.

While shelters might be full, there are other options, such as expanding the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, as endorsed by the 2021 Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency.


Absent an increase in federal funding, the Commonwealth needs to continue to prioritize affordable housing resources. We were in this situation several years ago, and we know that returning to motels would be disastrous for Massachusetts families.

The solution isn’t complicated, but it does take common purpose.

Felisha Marshall

Director of the Housing Supports program

Metro Housing | Boston


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