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Questions arise over Salvation Army of El Paso’s hot weather shelter policy

Cell phone video obtained by ABC-7 shows several families standing outside the Salvation Army Family Center in El Paso.

In the video you can hear the person holding the phone say, “they show up at three o’clock with their kids their small children, like I said it’s over 100 degrees, now they are telling them they can’t come in until five.”

ABC-7 wanted to see why these people would be barred from the building.

We spoke with human resource manager Nora Aviles who explained why people wouldn’t be let inside.

Aviles said, “so our shelter converts into a public agency during the day, so we ask all of our families with the children to leave at 8 during the school year and at 9 in the summer.”

Aviles explained they have met with those families to help them battle the heat. Water is made available to everyone regardless of the time, and in extreme heat, they will take extra steps.

“The cooling station that we have set up for use throughout the day and break times at 11 and 3 o’clock where they can go in the dining room for 30 minutes and cool down. If the temperature reaches over 100 degrees they are free to come into the shelter and stay,” Aviles says.

Aviles adds that keeping people who use the shelter safe is the ultimate goal, and they want to continue to improve the way they serve the community.

She says, “it’s a person who lost their job or evicted from their apartment or home or it’s someone going through a divorce it’s anyone in the community.”

The Salvation Army said does require proof of identity for anyone over 18 to be allowed in the shelter.

They also offer a free soup kitchen every day at 6 p.m.

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