SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After months of providing immigrants with emergency housing, the state’s family shelter system is almost at capacity.
Governor Maura Healey told 22News that the number of new families coming into the U.S. has been on the rise and it exceeds the capacity of the existing shelter system. As of this week, there are nearly 7,000 families with children in the emergency shelter system, including new migrant families and longtime Massachusetts residents.
Starting November 1st, the state will not add any new shelter units. However, the Healey Administration is taking on this issue by having the Emergency Assistance Director prioritize helping families who have been in shelter long term to exit into more permanent housing options.
Governor Healey says federal funding is needed to help these families, “I wanted more people to join with me in calls to the Biden Administration to act. As you know, I have been lobbying and advocating very hard to the Biden Administration for support. I have been calling on leadership and Congress to act, we need federal funding, we need expedited work authorizations.”
The state will be expanding support for rapid rehousing and rental assistance initiatives. Families with higher needs will be prioritized for placement. Those who do not immediately get placed in housing will be added to a waiting list. Other services will still be provided for families seeking emergency shelter.