Boston's emergency shelter for homeless and migrant families at the state's transportation building is packing up and moving out. Officials announced the shelter at 10 Park Plaza will shut down Friday, trading cramped quarters for a new beginning at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy. This move, according to CBS Boston, is aimed at doubling up the capacity to house migrants and homeless families, with the new location ready to shelter 57 families.
The shift to Quincy is part of an overarching game plan to manage the state's brimming emergency shelter system, which is now grappling with the housing of 7,500 families and counting. With an overflow shaking the system at its seams, an additional “safety net site” is on the horizon, noted Kevin Connor, spokesperson for the state’s executive office of housing, in a statement obtained by the Boston Globe. A clinical and safety risk assessment site is also slated to open soon in Revere to triage the needs of these families.
Sourced from CBS Boston's coverage, General Scott Rice, the state's Emergency Assistance Director, confirmed that Catholic Charities are presently operating a safety net location and United Way is looking to expand the effort further. The hope hinges on the effectiveness of these interventions to offer a reprieve to the state's ballooning waitlist for emergency accommodations.
Meanwhile, the current administration, under Governor Maura Healey, has locked in plans to plunge $250 million into the shelter crisis, mandating that her administration allocate up to $50 million for overflow sites, as described in a spending bill signed just this Monday. This maneuver seeks to open at least one more site by the end of December, ensuring operational status through the fiscal year, "We greatly appreciate the collaboration of MassDOT, MBTA, MEMA, and other state agencies who stepped up to make sure families had a safe, warm place to stay," Rice further elaborated, according to the Boston Globe.
As the shelters transition, what remains is the growing challenge that still overshadows immediate solutions. The state's emergency system reels under the weight of demand that has yet to see a significant decrease, despite the noted reduction in daily arrivals of migrant families. Alex Psilakis, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, emphasized to the Boston Globe the continued urgency for stable housing, schooling for children, and sustained care for those in transitional sites.
The pressure mounts not only on local thrift but also on the federal level, where Massachusetts' delegates have pitched calls for equitable financial support across states. The Biden administration's recent request for $1.4 billion in shelter grants is but a testament to the nationwide scope of this ongoing dilemma—the hunt for food, shelter, and services for newcomers to the American narrative is far from over.