Around New England

Massachusetts Shelter Space Hits Limit, Creating Waiting List That Is Growing

November 10, 2023

The number of families seeking emergency shelter from the state topped the state’s limit of 7,500 on Thursday, which state officials say means some families will go on a waiting list instead of getting an immediate place to stay.

Migrants from other countries have caused a surge on the state’s emergency housing system, leading Governor Maura Healey to declare a state of emergency August 8.

As of early Friday evening, November 10, the figure was 7,545, with 33 families enrolled during the past 24 hours, according to the state’s Emergency Assistance Family Shelter Resources and Data web site.


Source: Massachusetts Emergency Assistance web site


“Our administration continues to provide arriving families with resources, basic necessities and support, and we are working with community partners to connect them with safe, overnight options,” state emergency assistance director L. Scott Rice said Thursday, November 9, according to State House News Service.

On Wednesday, November 8, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill that would add $250 million to the state’s shelter system, including $50 million to provide more shelter space. The bill has not yet been taken up by the Massachusetts Senate.

Republicans have criticized Democrats over the measure, saying state shelter space should be for Massachusetts residents and not for recently arrived migrants from other countries.  State Representative Paul Frost (R-Auburn) sponsored an amendment that would have required one year of residency in order to qualify for a state shelter, but it failed 28-126.

All 25 Republicans voted for it, as did three Democrats:  state representatives Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), David Allen Robertson (D-Tewksbury), and Jonathan Zlotnik (D-Worcester).

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative watchdog group on Beacon Hill, criticized Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, Governor Maura Healey, and Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy.)

“While President Biden shares most of the blame by refusing to secure our country’s southern border and enforcing our immigration laws, Massachusetts politicians are also to blame. Governor Maura Healey refuses to visit the border or hold the President accountable and Speaker Marino refuses to put guard rails on the ‘right to shelter’ law which is being abused, acting as a magnet for immigration and a burden for the taxpayers,” said Paul Diego Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.


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