Massachusetts spending millions more on shelters and housing

(The Center Square) – Massachusetts will spend additional funds on shelters as the only “right-to-shelter” law state continues to be overwhelmed with migrants.

The state Senate moved to assist the burdened shelter system by passing a bill on a 32-8 vote to allow for the release of $825 million, currently in a state escrow account. The bill also intends to relieve burdens on the communities caring for the shelter stays. It does this by limiting the majority of stays to nine months and requiring the provision of individualized rehousing plans.

The Senate’s chief budget writer, Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-First Bristol and Plymouth, explained this dual interest to GBH News. “About half the families in our shelter system currently are Massachusetts residents,” the senator said. “If the money were to run out with any action on a plan, we would be talking about thousands of these families suddenly on the street in many communities across the state. This is an unacceptable and equally irresponsible outcome.”

There are still over 700 families on the waitlist for shelters. The cap is 7,500, a change made by Gov. Maura Healey last fall.

Meanwhile, Boston recently announced $69 million for “income-restricted homes.” “Collaborating closely with community across neighborhoods, we’re leveraging all available resources within the city to tackle Boston’s housing challenges,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a press release. The collaboration is between the city and the Community Preservation Committee, and the Neighborhood Housing Trust, part of the city’s treasury.

“Today’s funding will create 775 affordable homes for residents across the city. These developments are designed to offer residents stable and economically viable housing options and will assist us to meet our climate and equity goals,” Sheila Dillon, Boston’s chief of housing, said. “These funding awards will support the creation of rental, homeownership and supportive housing developments, catering to the diverse needs of the community.”

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