Temporary migrant shelter opens at popular Roxbury recreation center

ROXBURY, Mass. — Governor Maura Healey thanked Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and other elected officials, as they toured the new temporary shelter for migrant families set up inside Roxbury’s Melnea Cass Recreation Center.

Migrants who were sleeping at Boston’s Logan Airport will have a new roof over their heads starting Wednesday.

75 migrants are expected to relocate to the complex tonight. And nearly 400 beds are set up in the field house.

The state operates the Melnea Cass Rec Center, and as long as it is used as an overflow shelter for migrants it is closed to the community, with programs moved off-site.

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

“You give them health care, housing food, welfare, but people living in this neighborhood are scrapping by day to day,” said resident Shawn Nelson.

Protestors were kept outside and not allowed inside the Rec Center where Gov. Healey, Mayor Wu, and others said this temporary shelter is necessary.

“We need to, under the law, and our obligation, make sure we are making use of all space we have in this state,” said Gov. Healey. “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.”

“This is a big sacrifice that this community is taking on,” acknowledged Mayor Wu.

The Governor and the Mayor insist that the use of the Melnea Cass Rec Center is temporary and will be re-opened to the public in June.

Meanwhile, Dr. Geralde Gabeau, an immigration advocate, is urging the community to give the new shelter a chance.

“Let’s open our hearts to these families. It’s not either or. We can do both. We can serve our community while welcoming others, and that’s the right thing to do,” said Dr. Gabeau.

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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