HomeTop StoriesMigrant families moving into Boston recreation complex being used as overflow shelter

Migrant families moving into Boston recreation complex being used as overflow shelter

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Migrant families started moving Wednesday into the Melnea Cass Recreational Complex in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, which has been set up as an overflow emergency shelter.The recreation center on M.L.K. Jr Boulevard is accepting families, as some members of the community voice concerns about the loss of programs the center provides to local residents. “Last night I was over at Logan Airport, and I saw the number of families who were there, many of whom had been back for a second, third or fourth or fifth week-long stay at Logan Airport on the tile floor with 2,3, 4, year olds, infants, with them, and all they are left to do is lay on a blanket that they lay out for the evening and then take in the morning. We need to, under the law and I think under our obligation, make sure that we are making use of all spaces that we can here around the state,” Gov. Maura Healey said.A handful of protestors rallied outside the shelter carrying signs that read, “Why Roxbury? Try Wellesley!” and “Close the Border Help Boston Kids First.””Parents depend on some of these after-school activities because they’re working,” Roxbury resident Lauren Thompson said.”It is a lot to ask to, again, to a community that is dealing with a lot that needs a lot of equity,” Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes said. Supplies, including baby carriages, were delivered Tuesday to the facility, which will house families that have been sleeping at Boston’s Logan International Airport. “The one thing that we can do here, now, at this site in this country here and now, is show them who we are as far as safety and security, particularly our women and children,” resident Rodnell Collins said.Officials said they are working to relocate recreation programs and ensure the recreation center and the pool can reopen in June.The Cass Center has the ability to accommodate 400 people or about 100 families. Families deemed eligible for the state’s Emergency Assistance shelter system and awaiting long-term shelter are eligible to stay at the safety-net site.Officials said the center will cease operations as a shelter by May 31, ahead of its reopening as a recreation center and the opening of the pool. “This is probably the eighth or ninth major location that we’ve opened around the state. We have been all over the state. We are now coming to Boston. It’s just bourn out of necessity,” Healey said.The complex has been utilized by the state in the past, serving as a vaccine clinic in 2022.Just weeks ago, the state opened another housing overflow site in Cambridge, at the Registry of Deeds building. The state also has safety-net sites in Quincy and Revere, and the United Way is operating safety-net sites in greater Boston and central Massachusetts. Massachusetts operates under a right-to-shelter law, but the governor has capped the number of families the state can house at 7,500. Those beyond the limit are placed on a waiting list, which currently stands at 656 families. The ongoing crisis is expected to cost Massachusetts taxpayers $1 billion this year alone.”Our inability to solve this problem complicates everything at the state and local level across this country,” Massachusetts congressman Richard Neal said. Video below: Residents raise concerns about emergency shelter

Migrant families started moving Wednesday into the Melnea Cass Recreational Complex in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, which has been set up as an overflow emergency shelter.

The recreation center on M.L.K. Jr Boulevard is accepting families, as some members of the community voice concerns about the loss of programs the center provides to local residents.

“Last night I was over at Logan Airport, and I saw the number of families who were there, many of whom had been back for a second, third or fourth or fifth week-long stay at Logan Airport on the tile floor with 2,3, 4, year olds, infants, with them, and all they are left to do is lay on a blanket that they lay out for the evening and then take in the morning. We need to, under the law and I think under our obligation, make sure that we are making use of all spaces that we can here around the state,” Gov. Maura Healey said.

A handful of protestors rallied outside the shelter carrying signs that read, “Why Roxbury? Try Wellesley!” and “Close the Border Help Boston Kids First.”

Hearst Owned

Beds set up inside the Melnea Cass Recreational Complex, which has been set up an an emergency shelter. 

“Parents depend on some of these after-school activities because they’re working,” Roxbury resident Lauren Thompson said.

“It is a lot to ask to, again, to a community that is dealing with a lot that needs a lot of equity,” Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes said.

Supplies, including baby carriages, were delivered Tuesday to the facility, which will house families that have been sleeping at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

“The one thing that we can do here, now, at this site in this country here and now, is show them who we are as far as safety and security, particularly our women and children,” resident Rodnell Collins said.

Officials said they are working to relocate recreation programs and ensure the recreation center and the pool can reopen in June.

The Cass Center has the ability to accommodate 400 people or about 100 families. Families deemed eligible for the state’s Emergency Assistance shelter system and awaiting long-term shelter are eligible to stay at the safety-net site.

Officials said the center will cease operations as a shelter by May 31, ahead of its reopening as a recreation center and the opening of the pool.

“This is probably the eighth or ninth major location that we’ve opened around the state. We have been all over the state. We are now coming to Boston. It’s just bourn out of necessity,” Healey said.

The complex has been utilized by the state in the past, serving as a vaccine clinic in 2022.

Just weeks ago, the state opened another housing overflow site in Cambridge, at the Registry of Deeds building. The state also has safety-net sites in Quincy and Revere, and
the United Way is operating safety-net sites in greater Boston and central Massachusetts.

Massachusetts operates under a right-to-shelter law, but the governor has capped the number of families the state can house at 7,500.

Those beyond the limit are placed on a waiting list, which currently stands at 656 families.

The ongoing crisis is expected to cost Massachusetts taxpayers $1 billion this year alone.

“Our inability to solve this problem complicates everything at the state and local level across this country,” Massachusetts congressman Richard Neal said.

Video below: Residents raise concerns about emergency shelter



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