Board of Selectmen to Hold Special Town Meeting Tonight
The Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. for a one-agenda-item meeting.
The Board of Selectmen will meet tonight to discuss the town's motel homelessness issue, as the numbers of homeless families occupying motel rooms has risen dramatically since the end of spring.
Here are some facts to know before tonight's meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Toomey Room of Town Hall.
- In April of this year there were approximately 68 homeless motel families. As of Aug. 16 there were 141 homeless families in motels, accounting for 220 children (99 of whom are school-aged.)
- Of the nine hotel/motels in Danvers, the three that have contracts in place with the state for homeless families are: the Days Inn, the Knights Inn, and the Extended Stay Inn.
- The projected $50,000 figure that was discussed for the cost of homeless children in the Danvers Public Schools System has been raised to somewhere between $70-80,000.
- Chairman of the Board Dan Bennett initiated tonight's meeting to act as a forum to educate and understand the issue from different department aspects.
- Discussion participants tonight include: the North Shore Community Action Program, Northeast Arc, People to People Food Pantry, the Danvers School Department, Danvers Planning & Human Services Departments, and the Danvers Police Department.
- Last week the town finished its six-week "Project Sunshine" program for children living in the motels. Town Manager Wayne Marquis said the program, "from all accounts was a very positive experience for both the young people and the staff."
- Project Sunshine was budgeted at approximately $29,000. Donations in excess of $23,000 have been presented, and Marquis said he is confident the town will be able to close the approximate $5,500 gap.