WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A closer look now at the migrant crisis affecting the state of Massachusetts, and specific communities here in the western part of the state.
We got exclusive access to to the Clarion Hotel in West Springfield to speak with migrants about how they arrived the US and how they are starting their new lives here.
Venite Sylveus, who is from Haiti, tells us, “They need to have more patience. They need to be patient, because life is not easy. They will have a lot of difficulties but they need to move forward.”
Words of advice to fellow migrants, from a woman from Haiti, who has been able to move on from the Clarion Hotel in West Springfield to more stable housing in Springfield. This mom of two was driven out of Haiti to Brazil, making it to the U.S. in May of 2022. She has her social security card, acquired temporary protected status and is still waiting for her work permit. Her goal? To become a nurse.
The new migrants coming to Massachusetts, putting a crunch on an already strained shelter system state-wide, causing Governor Maura Healey to declare a state of emergency. Executives at the Clarion Hotel now plan to use a building being renovated in the rear of the hotel for overflow, because now the hotel is at capacity.
We spoke to the director of operations at the Clarion Hotel, Michael White, who says the environment here more like a community, and he’s become a big part of these families lives.
White tells us, “It’s definitely very different. Instead of the traditional hotel operations, we have to take care of their requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it goes beyond just lodging. They’ll ask us questions about immigration, they ask us questions about transportation, medical facilities, food service, language services.”
The Center for Human Development or CHD is working with the hotel and the migrants, helping these people navigate life in a new country and providing translation services, clothes, food, cash assistance.. and support for the children.
Many of these migrants we spoke to have been waiting years for work papers, one of the goals of the commonwealth’s state of emergency is to move that process along.