“A warning would have been nice”

Plymouth and Kingston are the latest communities to be caught off guard by the state as dozens of migrant families have been sent to hotels in towns on the South Bank.

Massachusetts communities were not notified in advance of the Baker administration on the housing emergencywhich also happened recently in Methuen.

In Kingston, 107 people were moved to an area hotel last week, and Plymouth officials expect 27 migrant families to be accommodated in local hotels in the coming weeks.

“A warning would have been nice,” Kingston City Administrator Keith Hickey told the Herald on Thursday, expressing his frustration with state officials from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

At around 5 p.m. last Friday, Hickey received a voicemail from a representative of the Department of Housing and Community Development, alerting him that the state was immediately placing nine people in need of emergency housing at a hotel in Kingston. . Then that number increased to 26 on Saturday, and Monday morning it reached 107 people.

“At the end of the day, we can’t fix this now,” Hickey said of the miscommunication. “We’re just trying to do what we can to provide all the help we can.”

In Plymouth, City Manager Derek Brindisi was told by the state on Tuesday night that they had booked 27 hotel rooms in Plymouth – and that eight migrant families were arriving that night.

Currently, 11 migrant families are in hotels in the city, and they are expecting another 16 families in the coming weeks.

Most of these families were already living in the Bay State. For various reasons, they no longer have shelter, so the state had to come up with a plan to provide emergency shelter.

“We would have hoped that we could have been part of the planning process from the start, so it would have been a more seamless transition in our community,” Brindisi said at a press conference Thursday.

“While we were not involved in the planning process, we want to ensure that these people receive all the support they need to succeed and find permanent housing in the future,” he said.

The shelters are full, so this is a shelter overflow situation, according to State Representative Kathy LaNatra.

Other cities will see “more and more of this” over the next few months, predicted state Rep. Mathew Muratore.

“It’s not going to stop there,” he added.

Massachusetts — like many other states — is seeing an influx of newcomers, many of whom are coming from the southern border, according to Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.

“Because Massachusetts is a right-to-home state, the Commonwealth must provide shelter to all eligible families who have no place to sleep,” he added in a statement. “Some families have recently been placed in hotels and motels due to capacity constraints on the state’s emergency relief shelter system.

“These are emergency situations, and the Department of Housing and Community Development team is working quickly to find shelter placements by contacting available hotels and service providers,” he said. “The DHCD tries to give local authorities as much notice as possible when people are placed in their communities, but as these are emergency situations, these placements happen quickly. The alternative is to make families sleep outside while waiting for more permanent accommodation, which is unacceptable.

The Baymount by Wyndham where a large group of immigrants were recently relocated by the state on October 27, 2022 in , Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)