Closed Store in Brownsville to Reopen as Shelter
BROWNSVILLE – A non-profit organization will resume the use of an abandoned Wal-Mart in Brownsville as a shelter.
A Southwest Key spokeswoman confirmed the facility is set to open on March. They said it’ll be to welcome unaccompanied minors who crossed into the U.S. illegally.
It will be the 4th facility in Brownsville to shelter children, under the age of 17, who have crossed into the U.S. without an adult.
Southwest Key is federally funded by the Office of Refugees Resettlement. The group’s mission is to provide a safe environment for unaccompanied children while they wait to be reunited with a sponsor or relative in the U.S.
Officials said the number of unaccompanied children in the past three years has, historically, been the highest. They expect the numbers to remain the same.
According to ORR’s website, most children are coming from Central America. They said 15 to 17-year-olds still make the biggest age group.
The website also stated twice as many males are coming to the U.S. than females. The average stay for unaccompanied minors is 36 days.
Southwest Key officials said children are supervised during their stay. The program ensures youngsters have a safe place to sleep, are fed, educated and also have access to healthcare and counseling services.
The program did not confirm the amount of children that will be housed at the facility due security reasons.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the city of Brownsville for comment on the opening of the shelter. They declined our request.