BOSTON — Lois Lee is a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2010, she started seeing more and more families with children coming to the emergency rooms at nights, but the children were often not very sick.

Lee found out these families had no other safe place to sleep. They were forced there under a policy to prove their eligibility for state-funded shelters by staying in places not meant for human habitation, such as emergency rooms.

An Peng is a writer for the Boston University Statehouse program.