BOSTON (SHNS) – Nearly $2 million in federal dollars will flow into Massachusetts and Boston city coffers to tackle the migrant housing crisis, with the money arriving just over a week after Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency due to strained shelter systems.
The $1.9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) comes after the city sought funding earlier this summer alongside the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Healey’s office said Friday.
The bulk of the funding, $1.8 million, is for the state, a Healey spokesperson told the News Service. Boston officials intend to use the money to fund temporary hotel rooms to house eligible people, as well as cover their transportation to shelters and service providers, Healey’s office said.
State officials will use the federal dollars to fund leases for housing at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, where a dorm is operating as a temporary shelter space for up to 58 families. The Healey administration opened a second immigrant resource center on campus there last month to connect new arrivals to shelter and other basic resources.
“Our Administration will continue to use every resource at our disposal to address the unprecedented rise in migrant families arriving in our state in need of housing and services,” Healey said in a statement. “We thank FEMA for awarding us these funds and look forward to future collaboration with the federal government to address this crisis through increased funding, streamlined work authorizations, and comprehensive immigration reform.”
Attorney General Andrea Campbell lead a coalition of attorneys general earlier this week calling on U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to expedite the work authorization process for migrants, who must wait months for their applications to be approved. The delay means new arrivals are unable to support themselves, which exacerbates the burden on states, including Massachusetts, to provide housing and other resources, the attorneys general said in a letter.
“We are thankful to FEMA for awarding this funding and look forward to continuing to collaborate with federal partners on work authorizations, additional funding, and reforming our immigration system to welcome and support families in a dignified way,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement.