STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
FACING A STEADY influx of migrants from other countries, Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday activated up to 250 National Guard members to provide basic services at emergency shelter hotels.
Healey’s office announced the move Thursday afternoon, saying that her new executive order applies to locations that do not have a contracted service provider. Guard members next week will be assigned to hotels to ensure basic needs of families are met.
The administration also said it is launching regional rapid response teams to assist with overseeing shelter sites and serve as a direct contact to the administration to address any concerns.
There are 6,000 families in emergency shelters and Healey has declared a state of emergency due to “rapidly rising numbers of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts, requiring the state’s emergency shelter system to expand in an unsustainable manner.”
“We need all hands-on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services,” Healey said Thursday. “We’re grateful to the brave men and women of the National Guard for stepping up to help us ensure that every family in emergency shelter has their needs met, including access to food, transportation, medical care, and education.”
The Guard will step in “while we work to implement a more permanent staffing solution,” the governor said.
Said Major General Gary Keefe, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard: “Our role in the response to the ongoing housing crisis will expand to leverage our multitude of robust and adaptable capabilities in emergency and domestic operations to help those in need.”