BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Maura Healey is on the verge of signing into law a roughly $1.1 billion combined spending and borrowing bill, according to her economic development chief.
During a presentation, Tuesday to lawmakers about grant opportunities, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao praised the Legislature for including $125 million in the supplemental budget (H 3548) to help Massachusetts compete for newly available federal dollars.
“The governor is signing it, probably as we’re speaking,” Hao said.
The bill approves $388 million in time-sensitive spending for social safety net programs, including $85 million to expand capacity at the state’s emergency family shelter system, $130 million to provide enhanced food aid for three months, and $65 million to keep a universal school meals program running through the end of the academic year.
Both Healey and her predecessor, Gov. Charlie Baker, have been warning for months that the state’s emergency shelter system needs more units to accommodate a surge in demand fueled partly by migrant arrivals.
Hao told the Economic Development Committee that Massachusetts is the only right-to-shelter state in the country, ramping up the pressure to respond to what she called a “humanitarian crisis.”
The number of people living in temporary placements in hotels has climbed from effectively zero to about 600, Hao said.
Lawmakers also included $740 million in borrowing authorizations, covering areas such as $400 million to recapitalize the MassWorks infrastructure grant program.