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Boston Unveils Plan to House Migrants in Veterans’ Houses, Sparking Fury

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Boston Unveils Plan to House Migrants in Veterans’ Houses, Sparking Fury

Boston Unveils Plan to House Migrants in Veterans’ Houses, Sparking Fury

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Boston recently unveiled a plan to address the overcrowding of migrants by using former veterans’ housing. The city’s system can barely handle anymore, forcing the search for alternative solutions. Governor Maura Healey communicated the urgency, saying, “We have said for months now that our system is at capacity.”

Veterans Home to Become Migrant Shelter

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The Veterans Home in Chelsea will be repurposed as a “safety-net site” for migrants, and the start date has been set for May 1.
Migrants will have to show efforts towards self-sufficiency, including applying for work authorizations, learning English, and seeking permanent residency.

Strain on Boston’s Resource Leads to Innovative Solutions

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Boston’s resources are essentially exhausted so the decision to use the Veterans Home at Chelsea as migrant housing is just a part of a broader initiative to manage the city’s capacity issues.
Emergency Assistance Director Scott Rice spoke about the scarcity, “We do not have the space, providers, or funding to continue expanding.”

A New Certification Policy

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A new certification policy will ensure that migrant families housed in the city’s safety-net sites are actively striving towards independence.
Scott Rice explained the necessity of this policy for managing the capacity challenges Boston’s emergency assistance facilities are facing right now.

Emergency Family Shelter System Has Been Overwhelmed for Months

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The state’s emergency family shelter system has been overwhelmed for months, which is why this significant shift in housing strategy is needed.
The system is designed to support migrant families with children and pregnant women in homelessness, highlighting the dire situation that has necessitated the repurposing of the Veterans Home.

Veterans Home Has a New Role

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The Veterans Home previously served Massachusetts veterans, providing residential and long-term care programs. However, it is currently vacant and was slated for demolition.
The site will now temporarily give Boston some respite from the housing crisis by providing shelter to migrant families.

Criteria for Migrant Families’ Entry

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According to Governor Healey’s office, migrant families can stay at the repurposed site as long as they actively engage in services that help them achieve independence.
The condition is part of the effort to ensure that migrants don’t come to depend on the assistance provided knowing it is simply a step towards long-term solutions for them.

Will It Affect Veterans Services?

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Secretary of Veterans Services for Massachusetts, Jon Santiago, has reassured that this project operates independently, meaning it has no impact on the daily routines or services provided at the Massachusetts Veterans Home at Chelsea.
The initiative is designed to be self-contained, not detracting from the services the veterans are entitled to enjoying.

Current State of Things 

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Massachusetts currently houses 240 families in safety-net sites and 7,500 families in state emergency shelters, alluding to the scale of the housing and migrant crisis within the state.
This highlights the importance of finding immediate and sustainable housing solutions for the state and the country as a whole.

New Shelters Are Rapidly Filled 

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Despite efforts, the migrant crisis only seems to be worsening. The newest emergency shelter in Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood, reached its capacity of 400 people in just one week last month. 
The rapid filling of such shelters highlights the acute demand for shelter and the challenges the state is facing in providing it for migrants.

Boston Is Among Cities Declaring Emergency

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Last year, Boston declared an emergency in response to the migrant crisis. The move came after New York City, Chicago, and the state of New York, Boston, declared an emergency, too.
These declarations are proof that the migrant crisis is a nationwide challenge, with cities across the country grappling with similar issues, particularly shelter.

Boston’s and the Migrant Housing Crisis

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Boston’s initiative to repurpose the Veterans Home at Chelsea for migrant accommodation reflects a broader effort to manage the city’s capacity challenges in response to the migrant housing crisis.
Though requiring migrants to work towards self-sufficiency, the city is hoping to provide not just immediate shelter but also a path to independence. A move that will in the long run reduce the amount of migrants the state has to cater for.

Boston Residents Are Not Thrilled 

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While it is a valiant effort on the state’s part to solve the migrant issues, some Boston residents are not happy about using such places to house migrants. What will go next? Some are forced to wonder.