Springfield organization asking for help for migrant families after state reaches capacity
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - With the governor’s cap on available shelter space for migrant families in effect, one local organization is calling a state of emergency as they try to help as many people as they can who need housing right now.
Outside of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts in Springfield, it seemed quiet on Friday. However, inside, we found staff unpacking boxes of donations of toothbrushes, hats, and other essential items that will all go to people looking for shelter. It’s a demand their CEO, Rabbi James Greene, said is expected to expand after Governor Maura Healey capped the amount of shelter space in the state at 7,500 families.
“As more families come in and as less capacity is created in the sheltering system, the need that we’re seeing right now, it’s one or two families a day. It’s going to continue to grow,” Greene said.
The organization has now called a state of emergency, preparing for this demand, asking for supplies, and spaces both large and small to serve as temporary shelter space.
“We’re just at the beginning for their call to assistance. We have had families to have come in who have been unhoused and we’ve been able to find some temporary places for them with community members who have opened up their homes in most generous, most loving, and most welcoming ways,” Greene noted.
The time of stay will be up to the host.
“Whether they may have space to house a family for a short period of time or maybe for a little bit longer, anywhere from three to five days to one to two weeks, while we wait for capacity to open in the shelter system,” Greene explained.
This demand does not surprise Greene and he told Western Mass News their numbers have gone up in recent years.
“In 2019, we served about 70 new Americans, 70 folks who came into the country. This past year that just ended, our fiscal year, we served about 1,066 new Americans. That’s the level of growth we’ve seen over the past four years. That number is just wild and I’m expecting we’re going to see more this year,” Greene noted.
However, they are up for the challenge with the help of the community. Anyone wanting to help, a wish list of essential items can be found here.
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