~ by Michael J. O’Loughlin for AMERICA
With the number of migrants arriving in Massachusetts outpacing available emergency supplies and housing, Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley is urging local Catholics to contribute resources ahead of the winter season. Describing the situation as “a major humanitarian and societal crisis,” the cardinal asked pastors in an Oct. 23 letter “to prepare your parishioners to be ready and willing to assist.”
“The challenge is the fate of immigrants arriving daily in Massachusetts, and in need of basic shelter and compassionate care and welcome,” wrote the cardinal
The number of migrants needing assistance in Massachusetts mirrors situations in other states, with state and local leaders calling on the Biden administration to send more federal funds to help shelter migrants.
Officials in Illinois and New York have urged the White House in recent weeks to do more to support the flow of migrants into those states, and in Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency in August, saying that the state had run out of emergency shelter space for families. Massachusetts is one of just a handful of states that has a “right to shelter” law, and it has seen the number of families being housed in emergency shelters, including in hotels, motels and college dorms, more than double in the past year. More than 7,000 families, or 20,000 people, are currently living in these emergency shelters, and the state says it is running out of money.
“We are not ending the right-to-shelter law,” Gov. Healey said in a press conference last week,
Politico reported. “We are being very clear, though, that we are not going to be able to guarantee placement for folks who are sent here after the end of this month.”
Last month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement that compassion to migrants seeking refuge in the United States must be coupled with policies that enable people to stay safely in their home nations.