Why Motels?

Sadly, family homelessness is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our country. The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless reports that there are more than 4,000 families with children in the Massachusetts Emergency Shelter program. With family shelters filled to capacity, over 1,350 families are being sheltered in motels throughout our state.

Currently, there are 262 families living in South Shore area motels. 148 families in Brockton are calling a motel room their home. When families first become homeless they are usually placed in a motel in their own community if there is space available.

Only specific motels work with the state to shelter homeless families, so if area motels are filled to capacity, then a family might be placed outside their community. This makes it challenging for school districts to set up transportation for students experiencing homelessness. Some students may ride up to an hour to get to their school. In order to serve more children living in Brockton motels, School on Wheels started two new program sites in early February. Our newest sites include the Quality Inn (named changed to “Rodeway Inn” January 2015) and the George Elementary School. It is our goal to help children stay on track with their education and not fall behind during a time of chaos and turmoil.

Can you imagine one family sharing a motel room for months? Some of the families we serve have been in the Brockton motels for over 6 months. One family we are currently working with has been there a year. In the motel there is no quiet place for children to study. There is no safe space for children to run and play. There is no privacy for any of the family members. There is no kitchen to have a snack or dinner. Children living in motels face unique challenges that definitely affect their education and their ability to be a kid!

The mission of School on Wheels of Massachusetts is to educate children impacted by homelessness by providing academic support and one-on-one mentoring so children can reach their full potential.