Today’s Republican reports:

Massachusetts Senate leaders on Wednesday unveiled a budget proposal that included $3.5 million in funding that would shelter homeless families in efficiency apartments instead of motel rooms.

The move comes following a series of incidents in Western Massachusetts that have shocked the public.

The most recent involved a 24-year-old man who on Monday reportedly offered to give away his 3-month-old daughter to a stranger at a Chicopee truck stop in exchange for either beer or crack cocaine.

State Sen. Stephen J. Buoniconti, D-West Springfield, said the $3.5 million earmark is included in a proposed $27.88 billion state budget for fiscal 2011, and the response so far has been favorable.

“We’re starting to get a response,” Buoniconti said. “It’s an ongoing problem and only bad things happen from the program.”

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