Chapter 143 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 101. A church or place of worship that is serving as a religious sanctuary by providing temporary, overnight shelter for persons in need with the expectation that said person or persons will return to or seek alternative shelter once it is safe and possible to do so, shall be considered a temporary overnight shelter under the state building code for such purposes for as long as the church or place of worship meets the requirements of this section. For purposes of this section, a sanctuary may house 1 or more individuals on a temporary basis provided that the space used for housing meets all the life safety requirements of an R1 use group under the state building code, except for the requirement for sprinkling that portion of the church or house of worship being used as a sanctuary or the entire church building. For the purposes of this section, the word temporary shall mean until that person or persons can find other sanctuary or until the need for that person or persons to be housed in a sanctuary is resolved.
The board of building regulation and standards shall, upon application, grant a certificate of occupancy as a temporary overnight shelter pursuant to this section to a church or place of worship that meets the requirements of this section; provided, that such certificate of occupancy shall not be subject to a specific time limit; and provided, further, that said church or place of worship shall comply with the state building code requirements for temporary overnight shelters and shall be subject to local health, safety and fire inspections to ensure such compliance.
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