Migrant Shelter Funds Running Out In April 2024 Unless State Legislature Spends More Money On Them

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/04/11/migrant-shelter-funds-running-out-in-april-2024-unless-state-legislature-spends-more-money-on-them/

By Alison Kuznitz
State House News Service

Money for the state’s emergency family shelter system could run out sometime between Monday, April 15 and the end of April, according to a top state senator, who is part of a six-person group of lawmakers trying to come up with funding solutions.

A supplemental spending package could ship hundreds of millions of dollars to shore up the shelter system, but Massachusetts House and Senate Democrats disagree about how much the state should rely on a savings account as part of the solution.

State Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, asked whether the existing funds could be exhausted by April’s midpoint on Monday, April 15, said the administration has told him it would happen sometime this month.

Healey’s office previously said the money would run out in early spring, and has declined to be more specific.

“We’re hearing sometime mid- to end of April, but there are other flexible funds that they can use,” Rodrigues, referring to the Healey administration, told State House News Service on Thursday, April 11.

Rodrigues could not explain what those flexible funding streams entail.

“We’re all concerned, and we want to get it done as quickly as possible,” Rodrigues said.

An Executive Office for Administration and Finance spokesman couldn’t provide a date for when shelter money could run out.

“As the administration has previously stated, direct funding for emergency assistance shelters will be exhausted early this spring,” state Administration and Finance spokesman Matt Murphy said in a written statement Thursday, April 11. “We are both grateful to the Legislature for the work they have done so far to advance our supplemental funding request and hopeful that legislation can be finalized quickly for our review to address this time-sensitive need.”

The House Ways and Means chairman, state Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End), indicated Wednesday, April 10 he was not aware of a specific date for when existing shelter money could run out, after he was asked about the situation happening on Monday, April 15.

The House on Wednesday announced plans to fund emergency shelters at $500 million in fiscal year 2025, including using $175 million from the Transitional Escrow Fund, the same account at the center of supplemental budget talks. Rodrigues said the House proposal does not pose a conflict with the Senate’s goal of making the full $860 million account available for shelter spending.

“We are all trying to think outside the box to be as creative as possible, and the Senate’s goal is ensuring a glide path through sustainability,” Rodrigues said. “And there’s not one way to do it. There are multiple ways to do it, and we are just thinking our way through this and trying to be as thoughtful as possible.”

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