25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Long-term residents of Mass. motel told to vacate for homeless shelter

CONCORD, Mass. — A woman who uses a wheelchair and her caretaker are among a group of long-term residents who were told to move out of a Concord motel to make room for people who are homeless.

Paula Mullamphy and her roommate Denise Barrette told 25 Investigates the owner of the Best Western on Elm Street initially gave them three days to pack up and find another place to live.

“I’m handicapped and my caretaker is 72. We got to find a place. We can’t just get out,” Mullamphy told investigative reporter Ted Daniel.

The women pay $2,400.00 a month for a shared one bedroom

“You bring homeless people and you’re sticking somebody out on the street and they’re going to be homeless. What kind of exchange is that?” Barrette said.

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) made an agreement to lease all 105 rooms at the Best Western, according to a community notice posted on the town of Concord’s website.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey (D) has promised to make the state’s housing crisis a priority of her administration.

The state’s family shelter system is running at capacity and more beds are needed to keep up with demand. DHCD currently houses 3,921 people with 464 in motel rooms across the state. The agency is looking to add more than a thousand new beds to house families who are homeless, including migrants arriving to the state.

25 Investigates asked DHCD if the agency was aware of the long-term residents at the Best Western when it rented the property. A spokesperson did not respond to that question but said DHCD is working with the motel owner to ensure nobody is forced out.

Newly elected State Representative Simon Cataldo, 14th Middlesex District, said the long-term residents are valued members of the Concord community.

“I think the details are still being ironed out, but DHCD has been very clear with ownership that these people ought to be able to stay. And my expectation and intention is they will be able to stay,” Cataldo said.

Bill Glidden said it’s too late for him.

25 Investigates met him as he was moving out of the motel room he had been living in for 2 years.

He said he was not made aware he could stay until after he asked for a job transfer to another state. He blames the motel owner.

“I wasn’t happy at all. But because of him kicking me out, I do know exactly where I’m going now. He was the one that put the nail in the coffin,” Glidden said.

Mullamphy and Barrette want to stay in their room. They said they were previously living at a Days Inn motel in Leominster but were forced out in January when a state contractor turned a section of that motel into an emergency homeless shelter.

“Just let people stay and give them the rest of the rooms,” Barrette said.

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