Why Motels?

Sadly, family homelessness is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in our country. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development reported that there were close to 5,000 families in emergency shelter in the fall of 2014. This is an increase of 25% from 2013. With family shelters filled to capacity, over 1,400 families are currently being sheltered in motels throughout our state. Keep in mind that this number does not include families who are: “doubled up, living in unsafe conditions, or sleeping in their cars,” reports the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

When families first become homeless, they are often placed in a motel in their own community. Only specific motels work with the state to shelter homeless families, so if area motels are filled to capacity, 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 as long as an hour to get to their school.

It is the goal of School on Wheels to help children stay on track with their education and not fall behind during a time of chaos and turmoil. School on Wheels has 12 tutoring programs on the South Shore of Massachusetts. We have several programs that work exclusively with the children living in motels. These programs take place at: the Rodeway Inn in Brockton; Lincoln Tech in Brockton, where we serve children living at the Westgate and Super 8 Motels; and the Super 8 Motel in Weymouth.

Can you imagine one family sharing a motel room for months? Some of the families we serve have been in the Brockton motels for longer than six months; it has been over two years for one of the families with whom we are currently working. 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.


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United Way of Greater Plymouth County

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School on Wheels - MA
100 Laurel Street
Suite 121
East Bridgewater, Massachusetts 02333


Federal Tax ID 20-1020880