EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As hundreds of migrants are being dropped off on the streets, some are deciding to wait for transportation outside while some are seeking to warm up at local homeless shelters.
John Martin, deputy director of Opportunity Center for the Homeless, said one of their shelters currently has 175 men in a space that is meant to hold up to 120 and their Welcome Center is holding 27 families at the moment — a total of about 120 people — in a shelter that is meant to hold about 85.
Martin said he and other local non-governmental organizations are urging the city or county to open up a migrant facility and take some weight of their back.
“There is some assistance from the city. Is it where it needs to be? I would have to tell you no. We’ve always been a strong advocate for a dedicated migrant shelter,” Martin said.
In Tuesday’s press conference via Zoom, Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino acknowledged that the shelters are full.
“CBP continues to do street releases and as these street releases are putting a toll on this system, it’s putting that over pressure at our local sheltering capabilities,” D’Agostino said.
However, he did not give any information on when or where the city might set up a migrant facility.
The city is currently assisting with migrants who test positive for COVID-19, putting them in hotels for isolation.
Another local NGO, Rescue Mission of El Paso, is taking the matters in their own hands.
El Paso Water confirmed to KTSM that they will be leasing their vacant building off Lee Street to Rescue Mission to use it as a migrant facility.
KTSM reached out to Rescue Mission for comment but did not receive an answer as of Tuesday night.
As shelters continue to overflow with migrants, the low temperatures are also bringing in the local homeless population.
Martin said it’s only a matter of days when they will have to start making tough decisions and turning people down, though he explained, this is something they are trying to avoid.
He also said they will be giving priority to local homeless population.
“We don’t want anybody out on the streets but especially so when it comes to children, but we are at a breaking point,” he said.
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