THE BOSTON HERALD – The Healey administration expects it will need to spend $915 million on emergency assistance shelters in Massachusetts in fiscal year 2025, according to a report executive officials prepared for the Legislature’s two budget writing committees.
The report from Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz and Housing Secretary Ed Augustus lays out in detail many financial aspects of the shelter system that were largely unknown.
The report includes a blueprint for how Gov. Maura Healey expects the state to continue handling a struggling shelter system moving forward.
The estimated nearly $1 billion spend takes into account shelter and associated services, staffing, intake sites, clinical and safety risk assessment sites, school district reimbursements, immigration and refugee health, community, and workforce supports, and municipal supports, according to the report, a copy of which was provided to the Herald Monday afternoon.
“While $915 million represents projected fiscal year 2025 costs, when you subtract out assumed fiscal year 2025 resources consistent with the fiscal year 2024 (state budget), the gap between projected fiscal year 2025 costs and assumed (state budget) resources is $590 million,” the report said.
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The state’s emergency shelter system is still maxed out at the 7,500 family limit Healey imposed earlier this fall, and the administration expects the system to run into the red by $224 million in fiscal year 2024, the report said.
Crushing housing costs in the greater Boston area and across Massachusetts combined with an influx of migrants fleeing unstable and unsafe conditions in their home countries have led to a record number of families applying for emergency shelter.
With families’ average length of stay exceeding one year, the budget problems for the emergency assistance shelter system “are a two fiscal year problem, requiring a solution that spans fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025,” the report said.
The administration plans to use $700 million in state surplus dollars leftover from the pandemic to cover the fiscal year 2024 budget deficiency …