An emergency shelter established at the Pomona Fairplex to temporarily house migrant children who arrived unaccompanied at the U.S.- Mexico border will permanently close its doors next month, officials confirmed Tuesday.
The emergency intake site opened in May with the capacity to house as many as 2,500 children at a time. It was one of several similar shelters operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to an influx of unaccompanied minors at the border.
The Long Beach Convention Center also housed a shelter, which closed in July after serving as a temporary home for more than 1,500 children during its operation. The San Diego Convention Center also served as a temporary shelter. The shelters served as temporary housing facilities until the children could be reunited with family in the United States or placed with sponsors.
According to Bonnie Preston, acting regional director of DHHS, the Pomona site will be closing on Nov. 19. She said nearly 10,000 children have been housed at the location since it opened, and there are less than 400 currently staying at the shelter, with no more anticipated to arrive.
DHHS “greatly appreciates the warm welcome and all the support shown by the community, Pomona, Los Angeles County and state-elected officials, the Pomona EIS staff, and the many faith-based and community organizations and individuals of the neighboring areas who supported the shelter and provided care to the children,” Preston told City News Service in an email.
Rep. Norma J. Torres, D-Ontario, also hailed the welcoming response from the community.
“But my ultimate goal is that we address the root issues that compel people to risk their lives to migrate to the United States so that we no longer need emergency facilities like this one,” Torres said in a statement. “The vast majority of children in this shelter came from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, countries that are unfortunately plagued by corruption and violence.”