Norfolk town leaders meeting tonight to discuss hundreds of migrants moving into former state prison

NORFOLK, Mass. — Town officials in Norfolk will be meeting tonight to prepare for the new migrant shelter that will be opening up in their community.

The state plans to use the former Bay State Correctional Center as an emergency shelter as migrants continue to arrive at Logan International Airport.

Migrants continue to arrive at Terminal E at Logan Airport, even though it is not a shelter.

Massport has said it lacks the staff and resources to provide services to the arriving migrants, though Massport does help bus them to welcome centers. The governor wants these migrant families to be moved to the former state prison in Norfolk.

Soon the migrant families will be housed at the former Bay State Correctional Center in Norfolk, which will be able to house about 140 families or about 450 people, state officials said. Each floor of the former prison has bathrooms and showers. It also has a cafeteria, gym, large common room, and offices that will be used for case management.

The former prison is located in a rural area, with no sidewalks for the nearly two-mile walk to town that only features a Walgreens. Town leaders are hoping to come up with a plan on how to handle the sudden surge in population.

“It impacts your public safety, it impacts your infrastructure, it impacts your schools, which is our biggest concern because our schools are pretty crowded right now,” said Jim Lehan, a Norfolk Select Board member. “We need to focus on solutions and talk about concerns, we have to stay away from the political agenda because right now that serves no purpose.”

The state says it will provide transportation on site. The Healey administration plans to open the emergency shelter in Norfolk next month. It could stay open anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

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

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