BOSTON (WWLP) – On Wednesday, 26 more families were enrolled into the state’s emergency assistance sheltering. There are only 12 more spots before Massachusetts reaches the 7,500 family cap, which will likely be hit by the end of this week, then a waiting list will be put in place.
The House finally unveiled their supplemental budget Tuesday, and in it was the Governor’s request for $250 million to help with the state’s emergency shelter system. The Governor has been at the forefront of the shelter crisis, but on Tuesday House leaders jumped into the mix.
While the bill authorizes the $250 million that was requested, the House tied funding to specific measures related to the crisis.
For example, $50 million would go to overflow shelter sites that must be launched 30 days after the legislation becomes effective. If the administration fails to do so, the cap on the amount of families in the emergency assistance program will be revoked until the sites are operational.
Northampton Representative Lindsay Sabadosa told 22News, “Really, the goal is to make sure that we do not push all this burden onto our communities, that we don’t push the burden onto our hospitals, our airports and that people have a place to stay, and we really understand that this is a crisis and we’re working to try to address it, but we want to make sure that there are real plans in order to protect everyone in the state.”
However, not everyone is on board. Republican Nick Boldyga will be voting against the funding, “We’re already in the middle of a housing crisis, and a shelter crisis, in Massachusetts, and now we have a migrant crisis. There’s no grand plan to address any of this, it’s just spend $250 million and maybe, just maybe, we can fix this. And that’s not good enough for me and it shouldn’t be good enough for the voters of Massachusetts either.”
House leaders believe this funding will only cover operations at least into the early spring.
The calendar for formal lawmaking is coming to a close, leaving only one week for the Senate to take up this funding.