Roxbury neighbors concerned about recreation complex being used as migrant shelter

ROXBURY, Mass. — Migrants who were sleeping at Logan Airport will have a new roof over their heads starting Wednesday. The Melnea Cass Recreational Complex in Roxbury will provide a temporary shelter to accommodate up to 100 migrant families. But not everyone thinks that’s the best spot.

“It’s a shame that the community heard from the Governor and DCR under these circumstances and not before,” said Louis Elisa, who is the President of the Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association.

Elisa is a fixture in the Roxbury Community. He’s the president of a local neighborhood association he also worked for President Clinton with FEMA and NATO, so he knows how to resettle refugees and says the move to Roxbury falls short.

“The space while good is a gymnasium. It will not provide the health and safety and security that you want for families,” said Elisa.

Governor Maura Healey says she’s setting up shelters around the state and now it’s Boston’s turn.

“This is prob the 8th or 9th major location that we’ve opened around the state. We’ve been all over the state. We are now coming to Boston. It’s just bourne out of necessity,” said Gov. Healey.

Locals want to help but say it’s tough in a community already short on resources.

“Things seem to be taken more from the community than given to it,” said Laura Keating of Roxbury.

Gov Healey says this is short term only and migrants will be out by the end of May.

“This will only run through May so for just a few months while we look to secure more funding from the feds,” said the Governor.

Even though it’s temporary Elisa says it’s still not adequate for families.

“The thought of housing people here – it’s a good idea to get them out of the airport but not the right place to do it,” he said.

Community programs at the rec complex are on hold but Gov Healy says they will be relocated.

As for more suitable locations Elisa suggests the Shattuck Hospital and the former West Roxbury High School.

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

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