Boston Plans to Utilize Veterans Housing for Illegal Immigrant Placement Amid Surge

Residents in Massachusetts are voicing anger over newly revealed intentions to convert a former veteran housing unit in the Boston area into a homeless shelter amid a rise in immigration. According to The Daily Mail, Governor Maura Healey, a Democrat, announced the government’s plan to repurpose the vacant Chelsea Soldiers’ Home facility, which was scheduled for demolition, into a “safety-net site” in April.

According to Fox News, the decision is aimed at alleviating capacity limitations, with Emergency Assistance Director Scott Rice underscoring the pressure on resources amidst a nationwide immigration challenge. The establishment will house 100 families eligible for the state’s Emergency Assistance family shelter system, which has remained at maximum capacity for several months.

On March 25th, Governor Healey announced that families must provide monthly documentation of their involvement in case management and rehousing efforts to maintain eligibility at a state safety-net site, effective May 1st.

The Massachusetts Senate approved limitations on the length of stay for homeless families in emergency state shelters as part of an $850 million initiative to support the system at the core of the migrant crisis, on March 22nd.

The maximum duration of stay was set at nine months, with the possibility of an additional 90 days for veterans, pregnant women, and employed individuals or those engaged in job training programs.

Residents of the Bay State are angered by the decision, with much of their frustration stemming from the fact that on a single night in 2023, as reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 545 veterans experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts.

“Is it me, or is there something wrong with putting migrants in the Chelsea Soldiers Home instead of homeless veterans?” wrote one resident on Facebook.

“I can’t believe the Chelsea soldiers home which is for the Vets is going to used for the immigrants overflow,” lamented another. “How about taking care of the homeless Vets first. I am all for helping people but how about taking care of those already here and homeless.”

In February, Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia suggested to NBC10 Boston that residents should contemplate offering housing to migrants in their own residences as a means to address the surge of immigrants.

“Dedham, Wellesley, Brookline — cities and towns that have so much more resources than the city of Boston. People who actually have more financial support, we need to do everything in our power to make sure that we are setting them up for success or whatever success looks like,” Mejia said.