Miller Hall to house homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

Suffolk+University%27s+Miller+Residence+Hall+

Suffolk University's Miller Residence Hall

Miller Hall will house people experiencing homelessness in Boston during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Sunday. 

The hall’s 172 rooms will be used to help homeless people social distance themselves from others and safely quarantine, Walsh said. The Boston Public Health Commission and Pine Street Inn, which provides a range of services for the homeless, will run the hall while it is being used by the city. 

Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly said 22 students who are still living in Miller will be relocated to the Modern Theatre Residence Hall.

“We understand that this is an inconvenience for those students, and we very much appreciate their understanding and commitment to supporting the city that is their home,” Kelly said. “Facilities staff will assist with the moves and work to minimize any disruption to those students.”

The city will provide bedding for guests to use while staying in the building, and it will pay Sodexo to provide food service for them, said Greg Gatlin, a spokesman for Suffolk. The city will use the building only if it needs to, he said.

“We hope the city will be able to turn the building back over to us in August, fully sanitized and ready for use in the fall by our students,” Gatlin said. “That said, we don’t know exactly how long [the city will use it for] because we don’t know how this public health crisis will continue to unfold.”

More than 100 homeless people in the city have been tested by the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program for coronavirus and five have confirmed cases, Walsh said. 

A facility with 38 beds for homeless people seeking to isolate or quarantine was built next to the 112 Southampton Shelter, and 17 beds are available at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program’s Barbara McInnis House, Walsh said. 

Gatlin said Walsh reached out to Suffolk about using Miller Hall for shelter.

“We are fully committed to protecting all of our residents, including those experiencing homelessness, because every life is worth protecting,” Walsh said.