BOSTON (AP) — Democratic Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday activated up to 250 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist at shelters and hotels as the state struggles with a flood of migrants.
The move comes after the governor declared a state of emergency several weeks ago because of the strain on the shelter system.
“Massachusetts is in a state of emergency, and we need all hands-on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services,” Healy said in a statement.
There are currently about 6,000 families, including pregnant women and children, in emergency shelters in Massachusetts.
The National Guard will help the state ensure that emergency needs including food, transportation, medical care and education are met at the state’s shelters while the state seeks a permanent solution.
Last week, Healy and her team met with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the growing number of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts and to make a plea for expedited work authorizations to allow the newcomers to work. The city of Boston recently received a $1.9 million grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency to help migrants with shelter and transportation.
All told, there are more than 20,000 people, many of them migrants, in state shelters. Many of the migrants are arriving by plane from other states, and the timing coincides with a housing crunch.