Judge denies request to put hold on Healey’s plan to cap emergency shelter space

Judge Debra Squires-Lee late Wednesday denied a request to put a temporary hold on the Healey administration’s plan to cap the number of families in the state’s strained emergency shelter system.

The decision followed an emergency court hearing on Tuesday, during which Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston argued that the administration was “undermining” the state’s right-to-shelter law and did not fulfill a requirement that Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus give the Legislature a required 90-day notice of the major policy shift.

Squires-Lee’s decision means that the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities may begin turning away families from shelter when the state reaches 7,500 families in its Emergency Shelter system, which is expected to happen this week.

The judge wrote that the plaintiffs -- three families in or looking to find housing in the shelter system represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston -- did not have the standing to enforce the 90-day notice, and said that it is up to the Legislature.

“The notice proviso is intended to afford the Legislature the opportunity to appropriate additional funding for the program. The evidence before me, however, is clear -- more than a month ago, the Governor specifically requested additional appropriations for the emergency assistance program and the Legislature has failed to act. In these circumstances, the predicate purpose of the 90-day proviso has been fulfilled; and, in all events, it is for the Legislature and not the clients of the program to enforce any claimed non-compliance,” she wrote.

Emergency Shelter Cap by Boston 25 Desk on Scribd

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