The Associated Press

GOP’s Baker Releases Homeless Family Plan

BOSTON — Massachusetts Republican candidate for governor Charlie Baker was set to unveil a plan on Wednesday that he said would, during his first year in office, help eliminate the policy of placing homeless families in hotels and motels.

Baker said he would focus on getting families out of hotels by sending out assessment teams to work with each family, giving regional advocates for the homeless greater flexibility and requiring state agencies to work more closely with communities hosting homeless families.

Over the long term, Baker said he’d work to create better communication and coordination between state agencies so that families on the brink of homelessness receive the assistance they need to stay housed.

The number of families living in hotels has spiked in recent months, with about 2,000 families staying in hotels and another 2,000 or so in family shelters.

Baker said he has experience in getting families out of hotels and into housing, pointing to his work in the administration of former Republican Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci.

“The first step in this process is to immediately end the current practice of placing struggling families in hotel and motels where they are far from their support network,” Baker said in a statement, calling it a “a failed policy that does more harm than good.”

Baker’s announcement comes as the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing plans to hold an oversight hearing to examine the rise in homelessness in the state.

Baker was the 2010 GOP nominee for governor. He was defeated by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who is not seeking a third term.

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