State opens second migrant shelter at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy

QUINCY, Mass. — State officials have opened a shelter and resource center on the campus of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy for people experiencing homelessness and “newly-arrived families,” Gov. Maura Healey announced Monday.

The “Family Welcome Center” on the private, Christian college campus in Quincy’s Wollaston section is the second site to be opened in Massachusetts since June.

The center in Quincy “will connect families experiencing homelessness to essential services and shelter,” Healey said in a statement. “Expanding upon the state’s first Family Welcome Center that opened in June, this second Family Welcome Center will serve as another entry point to shelter and services, especially for newly-arrived families struggling to access basic necessities.”

A dorm on the ENC campus will serve as a temporary shelter for up to 58 families. The shelter will be overseen by AMI Expeditionary Healthcare, a state-contracted shelter management firm “with experience in providing sheltering and supportive services for newly arrived migrants across the US,” officials said.

The new Family Welcome Center will be operated by Bay State Community Services alongside teams from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Healey said. In addition to support from the Office for Refugees and Immigrants, teams from the Department of Transitional Assistance and MassHealth will conduct onsite enrollment in benefits for families.

“This second Family Welcome Center will help increase access to services and expedite the rate at which we are able to connect eligible families experiencing homelessness with safe and secure shelter,” said Healey. “We’re grateful for the hard work and collaboration of staff, providers and local officials who are going above and beyond to support families in need.”

The new Family Welcome Center is located in the Cove Fine Arts Center on the Eastern Nazarene College campus in Quincy, and will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“As this crisis continues, I appreciate Eastern Nazarene for being so willing to provide not only a Family Welcome Center, but also opening a dorm to provide on-site shelter,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said in a statement. “Communities across Massachusetts are finding ways to meet immediate needs of these families. Through this unprecedented challenge, cities and towns are working together to help their neighbors in unprecedented ways. I look forward to continued collaboration as we work together to find a long-term solution.”

“As we rise to meet this increased demand for shelter and services, the opening of this second Family Welcome Center and new shelter space allows us to fulfill our responsibilities to families that need assistance accessing basic necessities like food and shelter,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said in a statement. “We are very grateful to our partners who have stepped in to work with us in supporting these families, particularly Eastern Nazarene College, Bay State Community Services, and AMI.”

The onsite shelter includes 55 rooms in a dorm building, plus three apartments. Buildings are equipped with free laundry machines and common areas and will be furnished with child-appropriate activities. The campus is walkable from the Wollaston MBTA station, has ample green space and recreational fields, and is close to local amenities including playgrounds, a public beach, and a pharmacy.

“Eastern Nazarene College’s mission is to provide a transformational education that equips diverse students to lead and serve our world as agents of Christ’s love and truth,” Eastern Nazarene College President Colleen Derr said in a statement. “ENC is in a unique position to lean into our mission in a very practical way and in our own backyard. This initiative is an opportunity to serve families in need and provide our students with unique enhanced educational and co-educational experiences.”

Daurice Cox, CEO at Bay State Community Services, said in a statement that the social service agency is “grateful for this opportunity to assist children and families in finding services and supports as well as addressing the families’ basic daily needs including formula, diapers, and toiletries. I want to thank all of the passionate and dedicated BSCS staff who have made this Family Welcome Center a warm and welcoming space for children and families in need.”

Scott Giberson, president of AMI Expeditionary Health, said in a statement that the firm will “provide health screening, shelter assistance and resource counseling for new arrivals.”

“Our partnership with the EOHHS, the local humanitarian network, and the surrounding community exemplifies the teamwork needed to succeed,” Giberson said. “AMI is dedicated to providing care and support to people in need, here in Quincy and around the world.”

The state’s first Family Welcome Center, opened in June and operated by the Brazilian Worker Center, has served more than 550 families as of July 27, officials said.

State officials said Massachusetts has implemented an “Incident Command Structure to lead a coordinated approach to addressing the needs of families seeking shelter – including the Governor’s Office, Administration and Finance, Health and Human Services, Housing and Livable Communities, Public Safety and Security, Labor and Workforce Development, and Education.”

A new leadership team at the Office for Refugees and Immigrants “is spearheading efforts to ensure that refugees and immigrants in Massachusetts are met with comprehensive, compassionate, and culturally appropriate services and supports,” state officials said in their statement.

State officials in June opened a “Family Welcome Center” at the Brazilian Worker Center on Harvard Avenue in Allston, to help transport families to a shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod.

In March, Healey signed a supplemental budget into law that dedicated $85 million to the Emergency Assistance program to meet the demand of a growing number of families, immigrants and refugees facing homelessness.

The Governor’s FY24 budget proposal recommended a $324 million budget for the Emergency Assistance program, which represents a 48% percent increase above the FY23 budget. Healey also recommended more than $2 million for the Office for Refugees and Immigrants, roughly a $280,000 or 16 percent increase from FY23. The administration also awarded $1.75 million to form the Immigrant Assistance Services, a new case management program designed to assist newly arrived immigrants in Massachusetts so they can access services that address their immediate needs and help them achieve stability.

Accepted donations to the Family Welcome Centers in Allston and Quincy include wipes, strollers, new car seats, pack-n-plays, diapers (all sizes), formula, milk (powdered), toothbrushes, toothpaste, body wash, unscented Dove bar soap, men’s & women’s deodorant, CeraVe baby lotion, Vaseline, individual packets of Pedialyte, and gift cards to Target and Walmart.

Donations may be dropped off at:

• The Brazilian Worker Center – 14 Harvard Ave, #2, Allston, MA or donate online.

• A New Way Recovery Center – 85 Quincy Ave, Suite B, Quincy, MA or donate online.

Anyone interested in helping may contact info@braziliancenter.org or info@baystatecs.org for more information.

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

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