BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts is now in a state of emergency due to the rising number of migrant families arriving in the state and a “severe lack of shelter.”

Gov. Maura Healey declared the state of emergency on Tuesday and said, “as of today, close to 5,600 families with children are living in state-funded shelters, hotels, dorms and other emergency facilities across Massachusetts. That figure is 80% higher than it was just one year ago.”

According to Healey, those families are made up of 20,000 people and include infants, young children and expectant mothers. Healey said they are the face of the international migrant crisis.

“They’re here because where they came from is too dangerous to stay,” she said. “They’re here because Massachusetts has, and will always be, a beacon of hope, compassion, humanity and opportunity.”

WATCH: Healey speaks on the migrant crisis (Story continues below.)

The governor’s office said Healey sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, adding that work authorizations are a primary driver of the crisis.

“I’m delivering an urgent and formal appeal to the federal government for intervention and action,” Healey said at Tuesday’s news conference.

“We need action to remove barriers and expedite federal work authorizations,” she continued. “We need action and intervention for funding to help us in this time.”

The administration also announced that United Way of Massachusetts Bay and The Boston Foundation have launched the Massachusetts Migrant Families Relief Fund.

“This fund can help us deliver emergency financial assistance so that children and families have access to essential needs including food and shelter, clothing, diapers, hygiene items and transportation,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said.

“It will help fund screenings and translation services, legal assistance, work authorizations, job trainings, ESOL classes and other socioeconomic and cultural integration supports,” she added.

The administration emphasized the need for shelter: “If you’re a local official, a college president, a business owner or faith leader with an available building or space in your community, please work with us to offer it as a shelter site,” Driscoll urged.

The governor is imploring more people to step up, offering resources and information for how residents can help.

“We’re asking everyone in Massachusetts to come together,” Healy said. “Help us meet this moment in our state and offer a helping hand. That’s all that we would ask if it were our family.”