Tent village near Homestead Air Reserve Base prepared to shelter refugee children

Up to 800 minors can be accommodated in South Florida

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - A tent village sprouting near the Homestead Air Reserve Base is on reserve to shelter up to 800 refugee children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who are crossing borders without their family accompanying them.  

Tens of thousands have crossed borders to escape violence and gang warfare since 2014.

Their numbers surged at the end of last year and doubled from the year before, prompting federal agencies to open a mass shelter at New Mexico's Holloman Air Force Base and prepare property near Homestead Air Reserve base for the same. 

"In December, it looked like we would need all the beds we could possibly find. Now we find we have enough space in our regular shelters," Andrea Helling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said.

"It's ready for children, but we don't have any immediate need to use it," Helling said.

The old Job Corp property across from the Homestead Air Reserve Base has been a shelter site in the past for Haitian children after the earthquake there in 2010.  

It's not clear what the tents will house, although at the Holloman AFB shelter, tents housed bathroom and shower facilities. 

At an employment office on the property in Homestead, the Office of Refugee Resettlement had scheduled training for workers in February. That training was rescheduled for April and is now on hold. 

 

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