Migrant families will no longer be allowed to sleep at Logan, Healey says

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Migrant families who sought out shelter at Logan International Airport will no longer be allowed to sleep there, the Healey-Driscoll administration announced Friday as it unveiled new plans to manage the overtaxed emergency shelter system.

Massachusetts' Emergency Assistance shelter system has been at its capacity of 7,500 families for months, with hundreds of others on the waitlist. Families with nowhere to go took to sleeping at Logan Airport, but the governor's office said that after July 9, these overnights will be banned.



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Instead, the governor said waitlisted families currently sleeping at the airport will be offered transfers to the state's new safety-net system, which includes sites across the state. Staff will be onsite at Logan to work with families during the transition.

The newest safety net location opened this week at the site of a former prison in Norfolk and will be able to house 140 families. The state has been working to expand temporary shelter options and improve shelter exit rates to get the capacity crisis under control.

Massachusetts has a right-to-shelter law that is meant to guarantee shelter for families and pregnant women in need. In August 2023, Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency as the shelter system approached capacity, in part due to a historic influx of migrant arrivals in the state.

In August 2023, Mass. Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency as a historic influx of migrants sought up help from the Commonwealth's strained shelter system. We've spent months speaking with new arrivals and the organizations who work with them about why they decided to leave home, their hopes and dreams for their future, and how they are faring so far.  Follow NBC10 Boston on... Instagram: TikTok: Facebook: X:

"With this progress, the recent opening of a new safety-net site in Norfolk and the new nine-month length of stay policy, we are now in a position to end the practice of families staying overnight in the airport. This is in the best interest of families and travelers and staff at Logan, as the airport is not an appropriate place for people to seek shelter,” said Emergency Assistance Director Scott Rice in a media statement.

"We've given, I think, enough lead time to work with case managers and service providers in finding new locations for people, and we've also made clear to those who might think about coming to Massachusetts that we're not going to be able to provide housing, nor are you going to be able to stay at Logan Airport anymore," Healey later told NBC10 Boston.

The governor added that 200-300 families have been exiting from the state's emergency shelter system each month.

Earlier this week the governor sent state officials to the U.S. southern border to emphasize that Massachusetts shelters are out of space. During that visit, the team met with border officials, migrant families, and organizations that assist newly arrived migrants to discuss the situation in the commonwealth and to make sure the messaging is clear.

The state's work is not limited to providing housing - in recent months the Healey-Driscoll administration has also pushed efforts to assist with work authorization applications, job placements, English classes.

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