CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts may not be able to guarantee shelter for immigrant families as soon as the end of this month.
Beginning November 1st, Massachusetts may not be able to guarantee shelter for immigrant families, but the state still has a legal obligation to shelter those who are unhoused. Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, stating, “We are doing everything we can to house as many Massachusetts families as possible.”
Massachusetts is going to run out of places to shelter newly arriving immigrants and other families without housing “very soon.” Governor Healey says the states emergency family shelter system will reach capacity by the end of the month.
Driscoll told 22News they will continue to do everything that they can for these families, “We are going to continue, we are not eradicating the right to shelter law, we are going to continue to do everything that we can but the reality is that we are running out of space and we are running out of resources and we are going to continue to try to serve families as well as we can consistent with our Massachusetts values.”
There are close to 7,000 families enrolled in the state’s emergency shelter system, more than double the number of individuals enrolled at this time last year. Chicopee Mayor John Vieau says the housing that the city offers is at capacity with 97 families, and about 300 people.
Vieau stating, “I feel like we are doing our fair share to help, the immigrants or refuges here are treated with respect and dignity, their kids getting enrolled in our schools they are getting hot meals provided by VOC and VOC is helping them establish their paperwork so they can become productive and become a part of our community.”
Starting November 1st, the state will not add any new shelter units. At that time, 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.
Since the summer, Governor Healey has also been calling on the federal government to speed work authorizations and provide financial assistance to create more shelter space.