An office building in an upmarket waterfront Boston neighborhood is being earmarked as a new migrant shelter more than a week after Democratic Gov. Maura Healey shuttered a community recreation center in the city to shelter migrants.
The office building, a 92,000 square-foot premises, is located at 24 Farnsworth Street in the bustling Seaport district in Fort Point and is owned by the Unitarian Universalist Association, according to The Boston Globe. The association is a liberal religious movement.
The Boston Globe reports that city officials contacted the local Fort Point Neighborhood Association on Wednesday, informing them the site is being considered as a shelter but that a final decision has not yet been made.
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Officials have been scrambling to cater to the city’s recent influx of illegal immigrants. Last week, the Melnea Cass Recreation Center in Roxbury was controversially closed to the public and converted into a makeshift migrant center.
It offered a skating rink and safe spaces for the community’s youth to fraternize with parents, raising concerns that young people may find themselves in trouble instead. The state intends to stop housing migrants at the facility in May and reopen it to the public by June.
That shelter was put in place as the migrant crisis continues to overwhelm other state facilities, including Logan Airport.
However, the Roxbury facility, which can accommodate up to 100 migrant families of four, is now nearing full capacity with around 95 families being housed there. Officials are desperately trying to find other spaces to house the migrants, The Boston Globe reports.
The Unitarian church says it is considering a “short-term” use of its building as a migrant shelter, although no final decisions have been made.
“Conversations are underway regarding a short-term use of the building that is in the public’s best interest and are in accordance with our values and principles as a faith tradition,” the church’s public relations director Suzanne Morse told The Boston Globe on Thursday.
Neighborhood groups are calling for a public meeting with officials so residents can get more information about the proposal.
The residents have been asking whether the building has proper facilities like showers to cater to their needs.
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“At this point, we have more questions than answers, but everyone is generally supportive to help in a crisis,” Thomas Ready, of the Fort Point Neighborhood Association, told the publication.
The city said it will work with the state and other partners to ensure residents have an opportunity to learn more and provide feedback regarding any proposed shelter sites “while prioritizing minimal disruption to area residents,” a City of Boston spokesperson said, according to Boston 25 News.
However, not everyone is happy with the plans.
John Milligan, the executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party, criticized the proposal.
“Migrants are coming into Massachusetts at a rapid rate,” Milligan told The Boston Globe. “Despite this, there’s been no effort from the Governor to curb the influx.”
“Now, there’s consideration of using part of a building in Fort Point, even though it lacks basic amenities like showers. It merely perpetuates the issue while depleting local resources.”
Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn, a Democrat, also said the situation is unstable.
“At some point, we just are not able to sustain everyone that wants to come here,” Flynn told NBC Boston.
“The situation we have now just can’t continue, and we have to make some major and dramatic decisions over the next several months.”
Fox News’ Taylor Penney contributed to this report.
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