BOSTON (WWLP) – A total of 250 National Guard members have been activated by Governor Maura Healey Thursday to assist in providing basic services at emergency shelter hotels that do not have a contracted service provider.

Governor Healey issued a state of emergency earlier this month due to the rapidly rising number of migrant families coming to Massachusetts seeking shelter. There are currently more than 6,000 families in emergency shelter across the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts is in a state of emergency, and we need all hands-on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services,” said Governor Healey. “While we work to implement a more permanent staffing solution, the National Guard will provide an efficient and effective means of delivering these services and keeping everybody safe.”

“This is an emergency measure that will help us meet immediate needs while we continue to advocate for assistance from the federal government in the form of streamlined work authorizations and funding,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll.

The National Guard members will help ensure families placed in hotels have access to basic services. National Guard members will be assigned as early as next week to specific sites where they will facilitate onsite coordination of services for food, transportation and medical care. Their services will also include assisting local school districts with enrolling kids into school.

Most emergency shelters in western Massachusetts are currently run by contracted service providers such as ServiceNet and Center for Human Development (CHD). It is unknown if any National Guards members will be sent to western Massachusetts shelters.

“We are committed to being Always Ready and Always There for the residents of Massachusetts,” said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “Our role in the response to the ongoing housing crisis will expand to leverage our multitude of robust and adaptable capabilities in emergency and domestic operations to help those in need.” 

The Governor is also launching Regional Rapid Response Teams, which will assist in overseeing shelter needs and will serve as a direct contact to the administration.

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance thinks to help solve this problem, the National Guard should have instead been sent to the southern border, “It’s really not fair for these people that are coming here illegally, that are often times taken advantage of during that process, the people who are trying to enter this country legally, and for the taxpayers of Massachusetts who are asked to pay for this, which about $45 million per month just for these accommodations for these families and these people, without addressing the bigger picture which is the southern border, the Biden Administration and a policy failure right before us.”

Just last week, Governor Healey met with the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to address the needs Massachusetts is facing, including the need to expedite work authorizations.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram