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Massachusetts Residents Outraged Over Plans To Convert Veterans’ Home Into Migrant Shelter

Residents of the Boston area have voiced strong opposition to a plan that would repurpose Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, a former veterans’ shelter, into a temporary home for migrants. 

The initiative, revealed by Democratic Governor Maura Healey, proposes to house approximately 100 families of migrants and pregnant women at the building, which was formerly dedicated to veterans and is now scheduled for demolition.

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The decision has sparked a wave of criticism, especially in light of statistics indicating that in 2023, as many as 545 veterans found themselves without a home on one night, as per data from the Department of U.S. Housing and Urban Development. 

Community members argue that the state’s resources should prioritize those who have served the country rather than addressing the recent influx of migrants.

Chelsea Soldiers’ Home used to offer shelter to veterans at $30 a day, and they were offered nursing care at the facility at the rate of $300 in personal exemption from their income.

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However, after a larger complex was opened in December, this facility was closed down.

Officials have maintained that this new application will not impact the services provided to veterans. 

Dr. Jon Santiago, Secretary of Veterans Services, emphasized Massachusetts’ capacity to simultaneously support both veterans as well as the homeless.

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The state defends the decision to repurpose the building as a response to the current housing crisis, highlighted by the arrival of a significant number of migrants in recent months. 

Officials underline the strain on existing shelters, pointing out the urgency for additional accommodation solutions.

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The upcoming shelter in Chelsea is expected to become operational within the month. 

Migrants will be obligated to demonstrate efforts towards financial independence by actively seeking work authorizations, engaging in English language learning, and looking for long-term housing to maintain their eligibility for the shelter. 

Credits: DepositPhotos

This arrangement is anticipated to last between six months to a year.

As Massachusetts grapples with how to best allocate its resources, the controversy underscores the challenges states face in balancing the needs of their existing populations with those of new arrivals.

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