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Massachusetts emergency shelter numbers: An updated dashboard ‘provides a more holistic view’

State officials updated the look of an online dashboard that tracks how many families are in Massachusetts emergency shelter system, a key metric that tells the public how close the state is to a new capacity limit Gov. Maura Healey outlined this week.

The dashboard, updated daily Monday through Friday, showed 7,089 families were in the system as of Thursday, which is propped up by a network of hotels and motels across the state to deal with an influx of migrants from other countries.

Forty-four families enrolled in the emergency shelter system Wednesday into Thursday, which was the latest available data on the dashboard, which is updated on weekdays to reflect the prior weekday’s numbers. More than 3,600 families were staying in traditional shelters, more than 3,300 were hotels and motels, and 89 were in temporary shelters, according to the dashboard.

“This is a new look for a dashboard that previously existed on the site. It provides a more holistic view of the emergency shelter system,” a spokesman for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities said in a statement to the Herald.

The look of the dashboard was updated around Sept. 30, the spokesman said, and it is run by an “Incident Command,” a cross-government group Healey said she set up to respond to an overburdened and strained emergency shelter system.

The dashboard is updated with information “from various platforms that the state uses to operate the shelter system and to support families,” the spokesman said.

Healey said Monday the state is limiting the number of families in the emergency shelter system to 7,500, arguing Massachusetts does not have enough funding, serving providers, or space to keep expanding the system.

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