Massachusetts is facing a significant influx of migrant families seeking shelter, pushing the state’s emergency shelter system close to its limit.
Governor Maura Healy has raised concerns about the capacity, with 40 to 50 new families arriving daily and the system accommodating over 7,400 families.
The state’s “right-to-shelter” law entitles migrant families to taxpayer-funded emergency shelter, and it’s the only state in the U.S. with such a law. (Trending: Meet The Ultra Rich Megadonors Behind Democrats)
To address the crisis, the state is taking various measures, including increasing the number of Guardsmen available to work unstaffed shelter sites and setting up overnight shelter sites for families and pregnant women with no alternative options.
“There are a lot of places in the country where people can go once they cross into the United States,” Healy pressed.
“In an ideal world, our shelter system can do just what it has done — flex to accommodate a wave of people seeking shelter — but the reality is our state cannot meet the current demand,” said United Way president Bob Giannino.
“Massachusetts is in a new phase of managing our emergency shelter system, and we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of families,” added Emergency Assistance Director General Scott Rice.
Additionally, a Republican lawmaker has introduced an amendment to require recipients of “right to shelter” benefits to be legal residents for at least three years, although it has not yet advanced in the legislature.