Nearly 700 children who have been housed in the Long Beach Convention Center’s temporary migrant shelter have been unified with family members or sponsors, officials said Friday, June 4.
There were 158 children in the shelter as of Friday, with 675 having moved through the facility and now settled in more permanent housing. That represents an increase of nearly 100 minors who have been united with family or sponsors from last week, when the number stood at 584.
The number of kids still in the shelter, though, has grown slightly from 152 last week. But that is still far lower than the 353 who were being housed there two weeks ago.
The shelter has the capacity to house up to 1,000 children, who are provided with meals, schooling, recreation time, toys, books, clothes and access to legal services.
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The Long Beach Convention Center was tapped by federal officials earlier this year to be used as a temporary migrant shelter, along with several other facilities across the country, mostly in California and Texas, as an influx of children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America — have made their way to the border without a parent.
There’s a similar facility in Pomona, which is also holding children, the majority of whom are 8-to-17 years old. HHS has united 374 children who were staying at the Fairplex with family or sponsors as a Friday, a sharp increase from May 19, when officials reported 36 children had been placed with family or sponsors since the emergency intake center opened its doors May 1.
In March, border authorities encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minors — a 100% increase from February and an all-time monthly high. But last month, that number fell to 17,171, indicating that the surge may be ebbing. The numbers for March and April, though, are still far higher than any other month on record. Federal officials have not yet released the data for May.
The Long Beach facility will remain open until Aug. 2 at the latest.
Staff writer Javier Rojas contributed to this report.