Family Gets Call to Host Migrants, In Less Than an Hour They’ve Got Visitors at the Door

Family Gets Call to Host Migrants, In Less Than an Hour They’ve Got Visitors at the Door

Facing a swelling population of homeless migrant families, Massachusetts has resorted to a desperate measure — recruiting residents to serve as volunteer hosts while longer-term housing solutions are arranged.

According to a July story by WBUR, with state-run facilities filled to capacity, Massachusetts started a host-family initiative to provide temporary room and board.

Geralde Gabeau, the executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute, told the outlet, “While the state is trying to figure out exactly what to do and [how] to open up more shelters, I think we — as citizens, as members of our community — we also need to play a role.”

In August, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll requested Massachusetts families to consider housing migrants in their homes due to the lack of space.

“If you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Safe housing and shelter is our most pressing need. Become a sponsor family… step up if you’re willing to have an additional family be part of your family,” Driscoll said in a news conference.

And some families have been stepping up.

According to the Brookline News, a news outlet serving the Boston suburb of Brookline, Brookline Town Meeting Members Jessica and Coline Stokes read an email from another elected official in November about the migrant crisis overwhelming Massachusetts shelters and said they felt moved to help.

After discussing the idea with their college-aged daughter and teenage son, the Stokes told state refugee officials they could likely take in a family short-term, the Brookline News reported.

They didn’t expect a call to come so soon. But on Jan. 6, the Stokes family got an urgent call — a Haitian family of four needed shelter immediately after spending four nights on the hard floor of Logan Airport, where many migrant families have taken shelter.

Within half an hour of the Stokes saying “yes,” the family of Anthonyne, her husband, Edner, and two children, Naika and Eduardo, arrived at their doorstep.

The Haitian natives have fled their homeland’s poverty, first for Chile, then to the United States after a journey that crossed South and Central America before the family arrived in Eagle Pass, Texas, according to the Brookline News.

The Stokeses readied their in a spacious, carpeted guest room with a queen futon and two twin beds to make the family more comfortable.

“I was happy for that news [that they had been taken in by the Stokes] because I was in bad shape sleeping at the airport with the kids,” Anthonyne told the Brookline News. “It was very good news for us.”

In the weeks since, securing basic services for them has proven an uphill battle. The Stokes, who have no means to communicate with the migrant family except with the use of their limited knowledge of French and Spanish, have spent countless hours coordinating donations, interpreters, school enrollment, and work permit applications.

Although the authorities have told the Stokes they are under no obligation to keep the family, there is no indication of when the immigrant family will actually receive housing.

So, in the meantime, they are with the Stokes, who say they are happy to keep them as long as it takes for them to receive housing.

The family says it is a “valuable and positive thing,” although Colin admits it can be frustrating at times.”

While I have the utmost respect for the Stokes, who seem like wonderful, kind people who genuinely want to help in any way they can, the truth is Massachusetts has failed the Stokes — along with the rest of its citizens.

Compassionate as the Stokes may be, they should not feel so compelled by the crisis surrounding them to have to take a family into their home.

And because they are so kind, they will probably continue to stick it out despite their own discomfort and “frustrations.”

The fact that Massachusetts is using band-aid fixes relying on private citizens reveals the untenable situation the state is facing.

The Stokes family’s generosity is admirable, but this should not be their burden to bear.

With the Biden administration showing no intention of shutting the spigot at the border, this crisis will only continue to get worse.

And many more families may find themselves feeling guilted into opening their homes to guests who should not be here in the first place.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.


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