WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The ongoing migrant housing crisis has led to some controversy as state leaders struggle to make accommodations.
The housing crisis is intensifying and state leaders are scrambling to meet the demand. With hotels and motels already operating as emergency shelters, nearly 30 additional sites are being considered as a potential solution. Among them are local universities.
Governor Maura Healy declared a state of emergency earlier this month pressing the federal government for more assistance. In the meantime, her administration is working out how to immediately handle the influx of migrants coming in to Massachusetts, a right to shelter state.
“We are looking at an unused building at Westfield State,” said Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.
Lammers Hall at Westfield State University is being considered as one of those possible migrant housing sites. Other universities, like Salem State, are also being used. Though, as Westfield Mayor Michael McCabe pointed out, there are key differences among those settings.
Mayor McCabe told 22News, “Lammers Hall is located directly in the center of Westfield State’s University’s campus. In Salem State, the resident hall that was amenable to take in refugees was located on an off-campus situation that had a different social fabric if you will. So it’s not that anybody is anti-immigrant, I think really what it’s about is, is it the right fit?”
Sophomore student Logan Sullivan says it’s not, “It’s going to create a lot more problems, and you’re going to have not just students but then you’re going to have even faculty and staff and parents complaining all the time, and I believe it would bring less enrollment because they would feel unsafe coming to this university.”
22News did try to contact Westfield State University for comment, but did not hear back as of Wednesday afternoon.