Story by Chris Harris
Massachusetts officials asked residents to consider opening their homes to migrants as the state contends with a spike in numbers and an overloaded shelter system.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency, noting the public shelter system has become overwhelmed within the last year. Healey said she’d requested federal government funding to address the problem, and vowed to expedite work permits to help free-up needed shelter space.
Healey called on private sector and faith leaders “to open your homes, your churches, your temples, your synagogues, your congregations and to others out there who might have space available to house families.”
Now, Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll is chiming in, suggesting state residents also take in immigrants.
“Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family,” Driscoll said, according to Boston 25 News. “Housing and shelter is our most pressing need … become a sponsor family.”
Healey on Tuesday said the state is receiving up to 40 migrant families a day.
She pointed blame at federal officials for inaction on immigration law reforms and delays in processing paperwork that allows new arrivals to seek employment, thereby opening an avenue for migrants to provide for themselves.
Despite the migrants’ willingness to work and an ongoing labor shortage across the state, some have waited years for federal work authorizations, as they’ve lived out of hotels, dorms and other makeshift public housing, according to Healey.
Under the emergency declaration, Healey has directed her administration to “utilize and operationalize all means to secure housing, shelter and health and human services” to address the shelter crisis.
On Tuesday, administration officials also revealed the launch of a new fund geared at making sure new arrivals have access to essentials such as clothing, food, transportation and hygiene items, along with medical and legal services.
Other states are contending with similar influxes of migrants. New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on President Joe Biden Wednesday to declare a nationwide state of emergency over the migrant crisis.
“We are facing an unprecedented state of emergency,” Adams said at City Hall Wednesday morning. “The immigration system in this country is broken, it has been broken for decades.