METHUEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Methuen Mayor Neil Perry is frustrated with one state department after they placed more than fifty migrant families at a local hotel without warning. Mayor Perry is concerned the taxpayers will have to bear the responsibility, something he believes the state department should be paying for.
"61 of them are being [legally] notified have to be put into Methuen Public Schools, well who bears the cost of that? It should not be the Methuen taxpayers so I'm outraged at the state agency," Mayor Perry told WBZ's Suzanne Sausville.
Mayor Perry said the Department of Housing and Community Development did not inform him of their plan to send 55 migrant families to the Days Inn on Pelham Street. The hotel was being used as a homeless shelter for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, but was shut down in July 2021 because of a 40% increase in police responses to the hotel, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Mayor Perry said he is legally obligated to put the children into the Methuen School System, but that could be costly to taxpayers.
"I think the organization that put them there bears some responsibility," Mayor Perry said.
WBZ has reached out to the Department of Housing and Community Development for comment.
Local organizations have stepped in bringing the migrants food, toiletries, clothing, and blankets. One local restaurant brought the migrants food on the first night they were there.
"[We're] just making sure they have basic needs met and that we're able to support as much as we can," Caroline Rowe, Lowell Managing Director of the International Institute of New England said.
They have been stepping in to help the migrants since they heard of their arrival at the hotel.