BWC Committee Addresses the Immigration Crisis
Back in July, the BWC Immigrant Justice Committee (IJC) began to meet weekly and filed an application for “Humanitarian Parole” for a Cuban who desperately needs to get out of Cuba, where life has become very very difficult lately, so they can find meaningful employment and support their family. We began recruiting volunteers to help out, found an affordable apartment in JP, furnished the apartment with your contributions and household items, and started weekly conversations with our new acquaintance.
While waiting for our parolee to arrive (we have no way of knowing if they’ll be waiting another month or another year for the US Government to approve the application), the immigration crisis nationally and locally has mushroomed. Not content to sit and wait, the IJC decided to help out in other ways. .
Members of the committee are active in the Boston area, volunteering at motels where recent immigrants are being housed by the state. The crisis gets worse each day, as more people arrive with no more than a backpack or duffel bag to start a new life here in Boston, and the state says they’ve reached their limit of shelter they can provide. Most of the families in shelters come from warm-weather climates and are unprepared for New England’s winter weather. Families (many with infants and very young children) who have fled violence in their own countries are now without housing or are placed in temporary shelters.
So while our committee waits, we act. Please join us!
Housing a family
The Immigrants Justice Committee has a furnished, safe, affordable apartment available until our person from Cuba arrives. Beginning January 1, we will house a small family with no other place to go. To house a family we need to raise money for rent ($900 per month), transportation, food, and other necessities to help them get settled and thrive in Massachusetts.
Material Needs Donations Drive
We are partnering with the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN) to assist the 40 migrant families currently housed at the Courtyard Marriott in South Bay and other temporary shelters. We are helping to collect donated clothing that is in good shape for adults and children, especially warm winter jackets, shoes and boots, hats, scarves, and gloves/mittens of all sizes. Diapers, wipes, infant formula (Similac), strollers and infant car seats and toys are much appreciated. Target gift cards are also crucially needed so people can buy underwear and socks.
Donations can be dropped off at:
- The Boston Workers Circle office at 6 Webster St, Brookline (Coolidge Corner area), Mondays and Tuesdays, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.
- Havurat Shalom, 113 College Ave, Somerville. Leave items on the front porch.
- In the JP area, email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a drop off.
We are also raising money to assist migrants with clothing, transportation, food, and other needs we cannot meet through our Material Needs Donations campaign. To donate to our Go Fund Me account, click here.
A request from BIJAN: Housing/Shelter Urgently Needed
BIJAN is seeking short-term hosts to help mitigate the current and growing housing crisis for arriving migrants. As we enter the coldest months of the year, the lack of state and federal funding to expand shelter space has resulted in a dangerous situation for new arrivals.
BIJAN is partnering with the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) and the Brazilian Worker Center (BWC) to identify host homes where these families can be safely housed while they await placement with the Emergency Assistance Shelter system. All of the families are on the official waiting list for shelter housing, but the cap of 7,500 families has been reached. New families will only be admitted as other families are moved into housing.
We are therefore seeking hosts to house guest families for whatever period is comfortable for you: this could be one night, one week, or until the family is called off the waitlist. There is a simple process of selecting host families that includes a phone interview, rapid background check (CORI/SORI), and one reference check. You will be matched with a family composition that you are comfortable hosting, and transportation will be arranged to and from your home.
Hosts provide basic food that the family can prepare for themselves (beans, rice, meat, fruit), and BIJAN can reimburse you for food costs as needed. Most newly arriving families speak Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and/or Portuguese, and, though proficiency in one or more of these languages is a great asset, it is not essential in order to volunteer as a host.
If you are able to join us as a host, please fill out this form. A staff member from ORI will then contact you for a brief conversation to answer any questions you may have. Staff will then process the background and reference check before matching you with a family.
If you decide to become a host, the BWC Immigrant Justice Committee will do our best to muster volunteers to help you and your guests with translation, shopping, etc.