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Officials, NGOs call for more communication from City of El Paso amidst migrant surge

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- One El Paso County Commissioner called on the City of El Paso to be more transparent regarding the migrant surge Friday.

Precinct 2 Commissioner David Stout urged the city to be more communicative during a press conference Friday with local NGOs.

Stout was joined by the Downtown Shelter Network, which is comprised of Sacred Heart Church, the Rescue Mission of El Paso, and the Opportunity Center for the Homeless. Each of the shelters identify as having been at the forefront of migrant surges over the last several years.

El Paso is currently in the midst of another surge. Leaders of local NGOs say they have collectively provided lodging for 90,000 evenings among 15,000 people since January 1 of this year.

This time around, officials say there are two main reasons for the overcrowding in shelters, as well as groups of migrants congregating on city streets. The first, is that there are more individuals and families -- primarily from Venezuela -- that don't have the resources to keep moving. Therefore, more people are staying for longer periods of time in El Paso shelters, and on top of that, Director of the Opportunity Center John Martin said each shelter is seeing an average of 40 to 50 new faces each day.

The second reason for the overcrowding officials say (and one of their primary messages to the community), is that there is a need for more shelters in El Paso.

Despite Stout's call for more transparency from the City of El Paso, officials holding the press conference acknowledged the city is working to address the issue, but that more communication is needed.

ABC-7 is expecting a response from the City of El Paso. We will update you as more information becomes available.

"To be clear, Commissioner Stout said his personal conversations have been limited and that County staff has been communication. The City and OEM staff continue to work with all local, state, and federal partners to provide them with the support they are requesting and coordinate daily meetings and conversations with all of our partners about this very dynamic situation," said City of El Paso spokesperson Laura Cruz Acosta. "The City and OEM are providing shelter for both single adult and families. At this time, we are operating seven hotels with about 1,000 migrants being provided food and shelter as they secure and await their travel. The City and OEM have provided shelter for nearly 7,000 migrants in the last nine days in OEM hotels. We’ve provided more than 16,200 meals in the last nine days. In anticipation of increased numbers across the region and the entire southwest border, the City and OEM set up the overflow facility at Nations Tobin Recreation Center to ensure we did not see any street releases. The purpose of the overflow facility is to provide overflow when hotel space is limited. We are also bringing the purchase and lease agreement of Morehead to the City Council next week, once approved we will also have the gymnasium prepped as a backup emergency shelter."

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Kerry Mannix


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