BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker may be leaving office in less than two months, but he is still hoping to enact change here in the Commonwealth.
The Baker Administration is asking for more money to help with the surge of migrants the state is seeing. Baker filed the $139 million supplement budget proposal on Friday. In the letter, the governor is asking for help with the strain migrants have had on the state’s sheltering abilities.
Governor Baker points to the past several months and the uptick in families arriving from places such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Venezuela and Ukraine. Massachusetts is a right to shelter state, and in the letter to lawmakers, Baker said that the Department of Housing and Community Development is “committed” to housing migrants and eventually helping them find permanent housing.
“Housing in this state is just becoming more and more difficult and we’re seeing, again, not just immigrants, but we’re seeing, you know everyday people getting priced out of housing and being forced into emergency shelter. So making these resources available more broadly is, I think, really a significant step in the right direction,” said Sarang Sekhavat, Political Director at Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.
Roughly $73 million would go to supplying more than 1,300 additional shelter units, $20 million would go to setting up a temporary intake center for arriving families and $37 million would go to placing children in local schools. The letter also calls for $9.2 million to go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to help with the new law that will allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license.
The bill has already moved and is now sitting in House Ways and Means.