Massachusetts Democrat Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to a ‘historic influx’ of migrants filling shelters across the state.
The governor said “that the number of people in the state’s emergency shelter system is nearing 20,000, and growing everyday,” NBC Boston reports.
“We remain unwavering to being a state and people of compassion, safety, opportunity and respect but the increased level of demand is not slowing down,” Healey said.
“Due to both a longstanding shortage of affordable housing as well as delays and barriers to federal work authorizations, we find ourselves in this situation.”
BREAKING: Massachusetts governor Maura Healey declares emergency over 20,000 immigrants in shelters, dorms, hotels across state: 'This is a national issue'
— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) August 8, 2023
NBC Boston reports:
Healey said the state is struggling to move people from shelters to permanent housing, and she called on the federal government for help — asking for “intervention and action to remove barriers and expedite federal work authorizations.”
Massachusetts is the only state in the country with a “right-to-shelter” law, which guarantees homeless families access to emergency shelter.
Driscoll made an appeal to business owners, local leaders, faith organizations and everyday residents to also pitch in and help.
“Everyone has something they can offer, nothing is too small,” Driscoll said, encouraging leaders to donate spaces, and people to volunteer their time, supplies or donations to local shelters, which are in dozens of communities across the state.
“Right now, we’re dealing with a humanization crisis, that has national and global origins, but we’re seeing face of it here,” Driscoll said. “In times of strife, we don’t turn on people, we turn towards people.”
🚨Just in: Massachusetts Democrat Governor Maura Healey has declared a state of emergency due to a migrant surge in the state. pic.twitter.com/EoFvPcBKNy
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) August 8, 2023
“Massachusetts (pop. 7 million) has declared a state of emergency over 20K illegal immigrants in the state…Brownsville, TX (pop. 187K) encountered 15K migrants in one week in April,” said Townhall contributor John Hasson.
Massachusetts (pop. 7 million) has declared a state of emergency over 20K illegal immigrants in the state
…Brownsville, TX (pop. 187K) encountered 15K migrants in one week in April pic.twitter.com/Hc29iTv95O
— John Hasson (@SonofHas) August 8, 2023
“The increased level of demand is not slowing down,” Healey said.
“We are unable to move people from housing and shelter into permanent housing.”
Boston Herald added:
A steady stream of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts over the past year has put a strain on the state’s emergency shelter system. As spaces dwindled, the Healey administration turned to everything from hotels and motels to college dorms and military bases to house people.
A spokesperson for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities said 5,550 families were in state shelters as of Monday morning — 1,887 in hotels, 3,546 in permanent shelter, 62 at Joint Base Cape Cod, and 55 in a college dorm in Quincy.
The numbers cover more than just newly-arrived migrants, the spokesperson said, though the administration estimates that just over one-third of sheltered families are new arrivals.
“That figure is 80 percent higher than it was just one year ago. It represents more than 20,000 people, growing every day,” Healey said at the State House. “These families include newborns, very young children, and expecting mothers. And it is more families than our state has ever served … in our emergency assistance program.”
Healey said the numbers are being driven by new arrivals, who she said “are the face” of the international migrant crisis.