Skip to content

Breaking News

The former Chelsea Soldiers’ Home is being used to shelter migrants, despite use restrictions on its deed directing its use for veterans. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald, File)
The former Chelsea Soldiers’ Home is being used to shelter migrants, despite use restrictions on its deed directing its use for veterans. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald, File)

Gov. Maura Healey is once again facing anger and outrage over her treatment of veterans after the state announced last week it’s converting the former Chelsea Soldiers’ Home into migrant housing.

While hundreds of veterans in Massachusetts struggle with homelessness, Healey picked the soldiers’ home property – which is deeded for use by veterans – for the latest shelter for the thousands of migrant families pouring into the state.

State officials argue that the building converted into migrant housing was vacant and slated to be demolished anyway, so they decided to use it for the migrant influx which is blowing a billion dollar a year hole in the state budget.

“Massachusetts has proven that we can take care of veterans and families experiencing homelessness in our state,” Secretary of Veterans Services Dr. Jon Santiago said in a statement. “While EOVS formerly operated the building slated for demolition, this project operates independently and will not impact the daily routines or services at the Massachusetts Veterans Home at Chelsea.

Really? They haven’t been doing a good job if you look at the number of homeless veterans – which stood at more than 500 one night last year.

Santiago — a former Democratic state rep — is supposed to make veterans his number one priority but clearly he’s more loyal to Healey than he is to our military heroes.

Healey and Santiago have their usual coat holders in the media to back them up, but the fact is the state could have used that vacant property at the soldiers’ home use for a number of uses for veterans, who need medical and mental health care as well as housing.

More than 100 migrant families are expected to move into the soldiers’ home property in the next month. Veterans were charged a fee to live there, but migrants will live there for free with all amenities like food and health care provided for free.

Massachusetts is facing a massive budget deficit to pay for migrants to live here, and officials admit they are pondering severe cuts to programs to prevent the state from going bankrupt.

With veterans now pushed aside, who will be next? Firefighters? Police? First responders? Towns and cities? The poor and middle class?

Healey, a Democratic first term governor, has been taking heat for her handling of the migrant crisis for months, and the conversion of the soldiers’ home is just the latest political debacle, judging by some of the response by Massachusetts residents.

In an attempt to control the damage, Healey announced last month that families will have to prove they have been looking for housing and jobs every month in order to stay at the shelters. The state Senate voted last month to limit the stay of migrants at shelters to nine months, with exceptions for pregnant women and people who are in job training programs.

This isn’t the first time Healey has chosen the migrants over veterans – the state turned several hotels near Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to migrant shelters, forcing out dozens of veterans and service members from their booked rooms for the Army-Navy football game.

The veterans had to fend for themselves after their rooms were canceled – and Healey and Santiago showed little interest in helping them.