McAllen Scaling Back Support for Respite Center
MCALLEN – The city of McAllen is scaling back its support for the Sacred Heart Respite Center. The money spent over the years was supposed to be refunded by the federal government.
McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez said the help provided by the city over the years is a call to action they made. Even though the support came at a taxpayer’s cost, he said the aid pays off in the long run.
The city minimized efforts due to a significant decline in immigrants at the respite center this year.
“They’ve been a great help. Course now that we don’t have really people here, there are certain things that we don’t need any more. So those services are no longer needed and so they’re not providing it for us anymore,” Sister Norma Pimentel said.
Rodriguez said the federal government agreed to reimburse the city for its support.
“The federal government on at least one occasion has budgeted money for this,” he said.
The city hasn’t seen that money. After the state received the funds, the allocated amount for McAllen never trickled down to the city’s account.
“I think that the reason that we haven’t gotten help is because of that anti-immigration sentiment,” Rodriguez said. “There’s a lot of the confusion. Why are you doing this for the illegal immigrants? They’re not, not when they to get to us.”
He said the city continues their support because people at the center have permission by the federal government to be in the country.
He mentioned the city isn’t obligated to help the respite center but does because of the benefit to the local community.
“The mission to us is kind of different. And that is we want to keep people off the streets. We want to make sure they have transportation to this center. Keep them out of the bus station for a long amount of time, you know. Just the time they need to board a bus,” Rodriguez said.
The continuing support comes in the form of one temporary shower set up by the city of McAllen. The city plans to continue its support in spite of the small number of people at the respite center.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Governor Greg Abbott and Senator John Cornyn to see what is being done to reimburse the city of McAllen financially.
We haven’t heard back from either office.
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