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Posted on: August 29, 2023

HOMELESS SHELTERED MIGRANTS - Joint Statement from Town Manager and School Superintendent

Town of Auburn, Massachusetts
Homeless Sheltered Migrants
Joint Statement from Town Manager and School Superintendent

August 29, 2023

            On the evening of Tuesday, August 22, 2023 twenty (20) homeless migrant families were temporarily placed by the State at a local hotel in Auburn. The Office of Local and Regional Health at Massachusetts Department of Public Health, contacted the Town of Auburn on the following day, Wednesday, August 23rd at approximately 11:30AM to inform town officials of their arrival. The town was told that temporary placement of the 20 families at the lodging facility will remain in place until September 30, 2023. Additionally, the Town was notified today, August 29th by the Governor’s Office, that another nine (9) homeless families were sent to Auburn on the evening of Monday, August 28th. They also are scheduled to be temporarily lodged until September 30th. Massachusetts is a Right to Shelter state and the Department of Housing and Community Development is obligated to find shelter for eligible families per Section 30 of Part I, Title II, Chapter 23B of the General Laws.   It is also possible that in the coming days additional families may be placed here in Auburn, but that is yet unknown.

            Since their placement, the Town has worked closely with the State, Auburn Youth and Family Services and other regional agencies to provide food, health needs, and other necessities during this time of transition.   Yesterday, Monday, August 28th, the State deployed a rapid recovery nursing team to do health assessments on all the homeless migrants relocated to Auburn.  DESE and MA state regulation notes that newcomer and refugee school-aged students are legally entitled to equal access to a free public education without regard to their or their parents' or guardians' national origin or immigration status as established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). The Auburn Public Schools are working diligently and collaboratively with all the Town Departments and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to ensure that this transition is coordinated with great care for all our students and without undue disruption to our school year.  

            We understand that this is an unprecedented situation for the Town of Auburn.  We are one of many communities state-wide who are in a similar situation.  As a municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as a public-school community, we must follow the law as it is today.  As we regularly do for families who are homeless or displaced, we must support the needs of any of the school-aged children.  This has been the long standing, required practice of all public schools in Massachusetts and Auburn has always welcomed our new students with kindness, compassion and understanding. That is what makes the Town of Auburn and the Auburn Public Schools such a special place to live, to learn and to work.

          For those who would like to provide assistance or additional support to the families, Auburn Youth & Family Services will be accepting monetary as well as other donations to support the individuals and families at the shelter.  (Food, clothing, gift cards). Checks can be made out to the Auburn Youth & Family Services and should note Migrant/Homeless Shelter in the memo and sent to, or dropped off at, 21 Pheasant Court, Auburn, MA. 01501.  To donate online, you can also follow this link to the Auburn Youth and Family website.

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