BOSTON (WWLP) – The state is in dire need of assistance when it comes to the state’s homeless population and House Speaker Ron Mariano said supplemental funding is coming.
As of Monday, the state has 7,439 families living in emergency shelter, about half are migrants. A judge ruled last week that the Governor could cap those living in the shelter system to 7,500 families and with 30 to 50 families enrolling everyday, that cap is expected to be reached shortly.
Back in September, Governor Maura Healey asked the legislature for $250 million to supplement the $325 million in the budget to keep the shelter system up and running. On Monday, the Speaker confirmed that funding is coming to the emergency assistance program, and announced on Tuesday it would be in the full amount of $250 million.
The administration has said that even if the caseload remains around 7,500 families, they would still need $210 million more than what was allocated to help with shelter needs. Although Healey has been pushing for extra funding, she said that more than just funding is needed.
“We don’t have enough service providers. We don’t have enough physical space and that’s why we’ve been, you know, searching high and low for space. We put out calls to community providers, service provider… so many have stepped forward and partnered with us, but at some point, and this is what we predicted, given the exponential growth we’ve seen, and the number of new arrivals into Massachusetts, we’re simply going to run out of capacity,” said Governor Healey.
The speaker was quick to comment on the cap Monday, saying that the $250 million that was requested never had to do with restricting the amount of people in emergency housing. The House plans to take up Healey’s request for further emergency assistance funding this Wednesday.