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107 migrants moved with little notice given to town leaders

By Juli McDonald

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    KINGSTON, Massachusetts (WBZ) — The latest group of guests to check into a Kingston hotel has the rest of the community scrambling to accommodate their stay. Almost overnight, the property off Route 3 became home to many migrants.

The town administrator said the only warning was a call late Friday from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

“Got a phone call Friday afternoon at 5 o’clock, a voicemail message that the DHCD was going to be placing nine people in Kingston temporarily,” Town Administrator Keith Hickey said. “We didn’t get a chance to connect until Saturday, at that point it was 26. When I got to work Monday morning it was 107.”

Hickey said they knew absolutely nothing else about the group – not their country of origin, or even important details that could have made this situation safer.

“A child was born at the hotel since they’ve been here,” he added.

More than half of this large group are babies, toddlers, and children. Town leaders feel frustrated they had no extra time to even provide language support.

“Twenty of the 107 people are school aged kids that are going to be attending Kingston schools at some point of the very near future. I’m disappointed they couldn’t have reached out prior to,” Hickey said.

The town administrator is under the impression the group will be at the hotel possibly through the end of the year. He said agencies would of course prefer they be in more appropriate housing situations – living spaces with a kitchen for example, but those options for this many people, are limited.

In a statement, the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development wrote:

“The Department of Housing and Community Development has a process in place to provide emergency shelter and other assistance to eligible homeless families by placing them in scattered site apartments, congregate shelters, and, as a last resort, hotels and motels. Due to high demand in the shelter system, some families recently have been temporarily placed in hotels, including in Plymouth and in Kingston, while more permanent shelter or housing is found.”

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