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HomeGeneralFamily of Four Show Up As Massachusetts Couple Volunteers To Host Migrants

Family of Four Show Up As Massachusetts Couple Volunteers To Host Migrants

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A picture of Massachusetts couple housing family of four
Source: nypost/X

A Massachusetts couple who volunteered their home to migrants opened up about their experience after signing up. The couple said they were surprised when a family of four showed up at the doorstep less than an hour after signing up.

With state shelters hitting capacity and migrant families sleeping overnight inside Boston Logan International Airport, the couple decided to step up and make a difference. Colin and Jessica Stokes opened their Brookline, Massachusetts, family home to a migrant family from Chile. 

The state’s newest migrant-specific shelter in Roxbury reached its 400-person capacity in less than a week. Hence, the Stokes’ new guests, a couple and their two young children, had been staying overnight at Logan Airport. After the Massachusetts couple signed up, officials sent the family of four to stay at their new accommodation.

While speaking to WBZ News, Jessica explained her initial concerns about their new guests. In addition, the Stokes’ claimed the quick turnaround time from signing up to the family arrival threw them off-guard. “I was like, I have to get sheets on the beds. How many people are coming?” Jessica said.

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“Where are they from? What ages? We really knew nothing.” Colin also chimed in, “The need is so clearly overwhelming.” He continued, “It boggles the mind that there are so many hundreds of those stories and people in such a stressful, traumatic transition.”

Furthermore, the couple shared insight into the migrant crisis that has caused problems in major cities nationwide. “It is incredible to observe on the front lines how challenging it is,” Jessica said. “The family is lovely. They are so appreciative. It has been wonderful.”

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While the two migrant kids wait to enroll in a school, their parents are hoping for work. However, they must wait for work authorization papers, which could take months to process. Although the family of four from Chile lucked out, other migrant families have it tough, moving from shelter to shelter.

The migrant crisis has been complex for Massachusetts. With the state’s newest shelter reaching its capacity in less than one week, officials struggle with resources for migrants. In August 2023, Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency after the commonwealth reached around 5,600 families in state shelters.

In September 2023, she mobilized 250 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to help transport new arrivals to state shelters. Also, in January 2024, Healey’s office used the Melnea Cass Recreation Center in Roxbury as a shelter for migrants.

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She said the decision was “born out of necessity” as other shelters had become overwhelmed. “We just have to do what we have to do at this time,” Healey added. Local officials are looking into a Boston Seaport office building as the location for another shelter to cushion the influx.

However, Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn said the lack of running water at the site makes it a “non-starter.” As a result, the state hopes more residents will step up to house migrants. Also, the Stokes hopes that other families emulate them and decide to put migrants up in their homes.

“Just the dysfunction is really disheartening, and I know that really well-intentioned people are working as hard as they can,” Jessica said. “It’s a state of emergency. But it is distressing to see the volume.”

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