MCLA Exploring Using Berkshire Towers As Homeless Shelter
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) may partner with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to turn the Berkshire Towers dorms into homeless housing.
MCLA President James Birge released a letter to college alumni Thursday that outlined the college's plan to provide shelter to families without secure housing.
He stated in the letter that the news has already been shared with students.
"I want to assure you that our priority is to maintain the health and safety of our students," he wrote. "We also have a unique opportunity at this moment in time to respond to the pressing issue of affordable housing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in Berkshire County. As I stated in my message to campus, it is my hope that others will join me in supporting the needs of those who find themselves temporarily without sufficient, affordable housing, and that our community will be supportive of this program."
In a Q&A included in the letter, Birge stated that Berkshire Towers is a self-sustaining facility and its location across the street from the central campus would mean those residing in Berkshire Towers would have little interaction with MCLA's larger campus community.
He added that the impact on students would be minimal, and the temporary shelter in Berkshire Towers would be staffed 24/7 by the third-party service provider. He said the initiative would not impact campus resources such as public safety and dining.
Birge added that the service provider would provide meals and necessities, as well as provide case management and connection to resources. They will also assist with housing searches and will provide routine cleaning, maintenance, and security of the property.