Massachusetts Has Allocated More Than $1 Billion In Migrant Shelter Spending In The Past Year

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The Massachusetts fiscal year 2024 budget set aside $325 million for the state’s emergency shelter system.

However, the state has allocated more than $1 billion for it during the past year.

Since allocating that initial $325 million to fund the system last year, the state twice has passed supplemental shelter spending because of the unprecedented demand for the system, primarily driven by migrants who are eligible to use the state’s right-to-shelter law due to its lack of a residency requirement. As a result, the state puts them up in long-term hotel and motel stays and provides them with free food, among other things. 

The legislature and Governor Maura Healey allocated another $250 million for the system last fall. Then they allocated another $426 million for the system last week; of that $426 million, $251 million is set aside for this fiscal year, while $175 million is supposed to help fund the system in fiscal year 2025.

That means they’ve allocated $1.001 billion for the system in the past year.

State Representative Marcus Vaughn (R-Wrentham) opposes supplemental spending on the migrant crisis. He said the state can’t fix the problem by throwing money at it.

“We can’t indefinitely allocate taxpayer dollars for this program without a viable solution,” Vaughn said in a press release issued by the Massachusetts Republican Party. “Republicans in both the House and Senate have proposed solutions aimed at addressing this crisis by offering amendments to limit the right to shelter law to long-term residents as it was originally intended.”

“Despite purported concerns voiced by Democrats about fiscal sustainability, their legislative actions indicate otherwise,” he added. “The pattern is evident:  bill after bill focused on spending our way out of this crisis. We’ve tapped into various funding sources to address this crisis, but the reality remains that resources are finite. Without solutions, residents will ultimately bear the brunt of this financial strain.”

As Vaughn points out, GOP-backed amendments to put a residency requirement on the shelter system have been repeatedly rejected by Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Amy Carnevale slammed this spending from the state government, calling it a failure on Governor Healey’s part.

“Two things have become apparent:  Governor Healey clearly can’t secure federal funds to address the ongoing budget needs, and President Biden isn’t going to do a thing to stop the crisis at the border,” Carnevale said in the same press release. “That leaves us with only one option, and it’s to amend the right to shelter law to have at least a six-month residency requirement to qualify for emergency shelter. It’s clear the Democratic supermajority isn’t going to take action at this point. They will continue spending taxpayers’ dollars until they completely dry up the well. To end this crisis, voters need to come out in November and vote to elect Republicans across the Commonwealth.”

Healey’s office could not be reached for comment on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. 


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