Massachusetts aannounced on Tuesday a plan to temporarily use a community center as housing for the influx of immigrants.
Governor Charlie Baker (R) and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito unveiled their plan to open the Bob Eisengrein Community Center in Devens, Massachusetts to temporarily house about 11,000 immigrants who have arrived in the state this year. The community center, which will open for four months in early December, can accommodate 60 families or 125 individuals while offering food, social services and possible enrollment in state benefits. Devens is already a reformed US Army base with 950 residents and 100 businesses, non-profit groups and government organizations.
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This comes as the state also prepares to convert its abandoned Salem State University housing complex into a similar structure that can house 60 more families. Massachusetts’ emergency response system has already reached 100% capacity, Baker said. When 50 immigrants arrived in Martha’s Vineyard in September, Lisa Belcastro, the island’s housing coordinator, admitted they did not have the necessary housing or services to help them.
Last week, Baker submitted a $139 million budget for rule of law shelter placement and committed $20 million for an all-new temporary reception center. This budget, according to the Executive Office of Housing, will “provide resources to expand shelter capacity to meet an increase in the need for these services, driven in part by a recent increase in migrant flows into Massachusetts due to federal immigration policies.” is”. and economic development.
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In addition to the increased number of immigrants, Massachusetts is struggling with a homeless population of 13,944, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. While this represents a 16% decrease in the number of homeless people from the previous year, it is a slight increase since 2007.
Mexican border camps have also seen an influx of thousands of immigrants amid promises of expedited legal status upon transfer to an American entry point.