Planning for the Emergency Shelter in Acton

November 2, 2023

Dear neighbors, 

As you might have heard, one section of Acton’s Minuteman Inn (corner Rt 2 / Hosmer Street) was recently designated as an emergency family shelter.  We at Acton-Boxborough United Way wanted to share what we know at this point, and open a line of communication so that we are all ready to welcome these new families to our community. 

Thirty-three rooms (one of the buildings) will become an emergency shelter. The rest will remain a motel and no one currently living there will be displaced. The first families are expected to move into the shelter around November 20th. People will stay in this shelter until they find permanent housing, which might take a while given the current housing crisis and the time it takes for work permits to come through. The Acton shelter will be run by the same organization (Making Opportunities Count - MOC) that runs the Concord family shelter at the old Best Western (which has been lauded as the state’s gold standard on how to run a shelter). 

The schools, the town, and A-B United Way are working closely with MOC and other community partners to prepare to welcome these new neighbors. The shelter will have a van to bring residents to grocery stores and other places occasionally. Residents will be held to state-mandated shelter rules, including a daily curfew. 

A-B United Way will coordinate donations through AB Resource Center.  It’s been requested that we wait to launch requests for donations as the shelter itself will provide for the first needs. Once they have done a needs assessment, and we’ve had the opportunity to hear from the residents, we will share what donations we are able to accept. It’s important that all donations go through the AB Resource Center (15 Charter Road, Acton) as the shelter itself does NOT have space to accept/sort donations. (AB Resource Center is new this fall, and any residents of Acton or Boxborough are welcome to visit to learn about community resources and to access the AB Exchange.)

We expect many of those who come will be from Haiti (although the migration journeys vary greatly and many of these families will likely have passed through Central and South American countries in search of safety and opportunity). We are looking for multilingual neighbors who speak Haitian-Creole to share their insight and help with translation. If you know anybody, please help connect them to us. (Additionally, the school is seeking to hire new state-funded roles to support these students including a Newcomer Family Coordinator and multilingual classroom assistants.)  

We are working with the town to hold a community-wide educational event around Haitian migration (tentatively scheduled for the evening of 11/14). 

We will keep you updated as we learn more. I invite you to also join A-B United Way’s email newsletter list, and follow us on social media (@abunitedway on Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor, LinkedIn), to stay up to date on this and additional community news and opportunities. 

Please feel free to reach out to with any thoughts or questions. 

With appreciation,

Katie Neville