Deadline drawing near for Chicopee hotels that house homeless - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Deadline drawing near for Chicopee hotels that house homeless

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Over 150 homeless families are at risk for losing their current shelter in the city.

Barring an agreement within the next week, those families staying in a city hotel could once again be without a home.

"There was actually a six-family unit that must have had in some cases 21 people living per unit," said Mayor Richard Kos, while discussing what officials saw when visiting a private shelter in his city.

That led to a review of three hotels that also host high numbers of homeless families: the Econo Lodge on Burnett Road and the Days Inn and Quality Inn on Memorial Drive.

Kos said families are not supposed stay more than thirty days at a location.

Once they do, the facility is then considered a "lodging house," which brings on a whole new set of regulations.

"The application process will require them to apply for a water-sprinkler system for fire protection and fire prevention," Kos stated.

Officials said the three hotels in question do not have sprinkler systems for each room.  The fire department said that poses a slew of problems when people start to live out of a location.

"People who stay for an extended time tend to hold on to more of their personal belongings, they tend to bring in more equipment, be it a hot plate or possibly a microwave," said Chicopee Deputy Fire Chief Dean Desmarais.

George Rivera is a hairdresser at Salon Jade, which is located right next to the Days Inn.

The news of the homeless resident situation was a hot topic at his business Thursday afternoon.

While they do not believe it would impact their business, Rivera would like to see some sort of resolution.

"It's crazy," said Rivera. "I can't believe that's going to happen in a week, but hopefully everything works out for them and falls into place."

CBS 3 reached out to the hotels for comment but no one was available.

Kos said hotel officials plan to meet with city officials on Thursday, May 15, to discuss where they go from here.

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