Haitian Immigrants seek shelter at Boston hospital as immigrant group pleads for help

BOSTON — A large influx of Haitian migrants is having an impact on Boston. These are people desperate to flee a country in turmoil and they are making their way north. Many are seeking help from a local immigrant group called Immigrant Family Services Institute located in Mattapan. And with no place to go, some are seeking shelter inside Boston Medical Center.

“Currently there is no life in Haiti the way that things are,” said Dr. Geralde Gabeau, who is the Executive Director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute.

Some Haitian families are now spending the night inside the lobby at Boston Medical Center. Boston 25 obtained a video from a visitor showing families, women, and children with suitcases inside the hospital lobby on Tuesday.

“We do not have the resources to place people in housing,” Dr. Gabeau told Boston 25 News

A Boston Medical Center spokesperson tells us: “Due to a lack of available housing, we had five families – 16 adults and children – stay in our lobby Monday night.”

Dr. Gabeau says immigrants are fleeing escalating violence in Haiti that puts their lives at risk.

“Gangs have taken over the entire country. People can’t go to work, children cannot go to school, even if you want to have access to healthcare you can’t because of the gang violence,” said Dr. Gabeau,

Dr. Gabeau says money from the state has run out and they’re having trouble helping fellow Haitians.

“They are placed in hotels in Dedham, in Revere, all across but only temporarily so it means the situation is not resolved yet,” said Dr. Gabeau.

And that’s if temporary housing is available. In 2021, she says the state provided funding to permanently house sixteen-thousand Haitian families. She’s pleading for the state to do more as immigrants both sponsored and on their own make their way to Boston.

“The other group is coming from the border. They travel from Haiti to Central America and spend some time there,” said Dr. Gabeau.

She says they make friends along the treacherous trip through Mexico and connect once back in the States. If there is a friend in Boston, they find a way to get here. So, Dr. Gabeau says the state and the feds have to step up.

“When in fact we know people are coming so we need to be ready. We need to be proactive and have a comprehensive approach to housing,” she said.

Dr. Gabeau tells us that once migrants arrive in the U.S. they are connecting via the app called WhatsApp. And she says with Title 42 running out on May 11th, a surge of migrants is expected.

She hopes the state and city can step up to help because staying in the hospital lobby is certainly no long-term solution.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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