New Professional Coordinating Services at Emergency Shelter

November 14, 2023

A new specialist has joined the town Youth and Family Services staff, coordinating access to services for residents of the Bedford Plaza Hotel emergency shelter.

Nahomie Georgeon of Bedford “has really been making some great inroads and becoming a trusted resource at the hotel,” said Heidi Porter, Director of Health And Human Services. “We are delighted to have her.”

Georgeon’s title is community case manager, and Porter said she is spending most of her time at the hotel, where state agencies have housed 93 migrant families. Under the state’s right-to-shelter law, pregnant women as well as households with young children receive emergency placement.

“She is learning the ropes, continuing to work with folks, getting them the services they need as they strive toward independence.” 

Fluent in Haitian Creole, Georgeon “has got those ‘people skills,’” Porter said.

Georgeon holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in human resource management. Much of her workload is coordinating state-provided legal and mental health services for the recent arrivals, Porter explained.

There are also frequent transportation arrangements and “trying to transition to getting everyone connected to primary care. Now that folks have insurance, we don’t need to have them rely on triaging at the hotel,” she added.

Costs associated with the new position will be covered through the schools, Porter said, since the state government is subsidizing each new student at more than $100 a day, while the town agencies have received no state aid. There are some 40 migrant children enrolled in the schools, and through Georgeon’s work, “we are supporting more than 100 kids who are at the shelter,” Porter said.

Many of the Massachusetts emergency shelters are managed by nonprofits, paid for by state funds. Bedford has not benefited from this arrangement, and those tasks are handled by Porter’s department. She said Georgeon “adds to the great work the team has been doing.

“We are still seeking state funding,” the director added. “As far as we can see, we are going to be supporting this work for quite a while.”

Porter said her office is planning a flu and Covid-19 vaccination clinic for the hotel residents, and is working with the Cradles to Crayons organization to ensure that children have adequate winter clothing. Families are signing up for what they need, she noted.

The director said she is pleased that some community organizations are supplementing the work of town agencies with outreach to the sheltered residents.

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