Program Providing Taxpayer-Funded Motel Rooms to Homeless Limited in Court Ruling

October 15, 2018

By Joshua Miller

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that the state can continue to use taxpayer-funded motel rooms solely as housing of last resort for homeless families, reversing a lower court mandate that expanded the set of circumstances when motel rooms had to be used.

The 5-2 high court decision vacated a preliminary injunction that required the state place homeless families with recognized disabilities in a motel if available shelters couldn’t accommodate their circumstances and the motel could.

The ruling in a class-action lawsuit brought by homeless mothers marks a victory for Governor Charlie Baker, who faces voters next month, and who has crowed about his success in reducing the number of families in motels at state expense from 1,500 when he took office to 38 Thursday night.

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