Massachusetts officials want residents to host illegal aliens in their extra rooms.
The Democrat-led state launched its “host family strategy” due to the state’s dwindling shelter capacity.
“Hosts are asked to provide a room or apartment for a few days, until longer-term accommodations can be arranged,” WBUR reports.
“A significant portion of the families in need of housing in the state are new immigrants.”
“The state’s new Family Welcome Center in Allston is tasked with recruiting, vetting and onboarding host families, as well as pairing them with the families in need,” WBUR added.
The host family model has historically been used to house refugees coming through State Department programs as well as help support unaccompanied minors in need of shelter. However, homeless advocates say it has not been broadly applied to family homelessness in the past.
“The addition of this layer — of adding in host homes — really seems to be because of the urgency and current unmet needs,” said Kelly Turley, associate director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. “This is something that they could get online very quickly if host families and hosts come forward.”
However, Turley warned that this should be a stopgap measure rather than a lasting solution. “We know that longer-term shelter and permanent housing would better meet the stability, safety, and service needs of newly arrived immigrants,” Turley said.
The state did not immediately respond to requests for information about the vetting process for hosts, and whether there are site visits to assess the safety of host’s home. The state also did not provide information about how many families have been paired with hosts since the Family Welcome Center opened in late June. Local aid groups tell WBUR that several families have gone to host homes.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, blamed the state’s influx of illegal immigrants on “federal immigration policy.”
He requested $139 million in funding for emergency housing and said the federal government’s “inability to address our country’s immigration challenges” caused the crisis.
From the Boston Herald in November 2022:
“Massachusetts’ emergency shelter system provides support for thousands of families each year, but a recent uptick in new migrant arrivals, coupled with a strained housing market have led to a need for greater capacity across the system,” Baker said in a Friday statement along with a request for $139 million in funding for emergency housing.
Baker’s administration, in the release, says the recent influx of migrants is “due to federal immigration policy” and will require the state to expand it’s emergency shelter system.
“These expanded resources will help us quickly and effectively address this humanitarian crisis, especially as we enter the winter months. We look forward to working with our partners in the Legislature, the nonprofit community and local government as we all address this unprecedented challenge, which is unfortunately driven by the federal government’s inability to address our country’s immigration challenges,” Baker said.
About $73 million will be spent on 1,300 additional shelter units, $20 million to “establish and maintain” a migrant intake center, and $37 million to help migrant children with placement into the local school systems.