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New law provides financial relief for groups responding to migrant influx

In a news conference on Monday, Congressman Cuellar said the reimbursements will be distributed through an application process by United Way.

A banner hung outside Travis Park Church read, "Our humanity does not stop at the border." It's a message that seems to resonate with the handful of national and local leaders gathered inside to discuss the migrant influx. 

"Let's show the world that people in San Antonio care, have compassion and are willing to do everything they can to help," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told the media on Monday afternoon. 

For nearly four months, the city of San Antonio and its non-profit partners have done just that by providing resources for the thousands of migrants who have traveled through the Alamo City.

Now a bill backed by Congressman Henry Cuellar and Senator John Cornyn will hopefully provide some much-needed relief.

$30 million will be distributed to local governments and nonprofits who have provided services for the surge of migrants. In a news conference on Monday Congressman Cuellar said the reimbursements will be distributed through an application process by United Way.

Dollars the city will be happy to see as the spending on this surge continues.

  • According to the city, more than $25,000 migrants have traveled through the resource center since its opening at the end of March.  
  • The city has spent roughly $240,000 dollars responding to the migrant influx. 
  • The city's non-profit partners like Catholic Charities and the Food Bank have spent about $555,000 altogether. 
  • This doesn’t include the cost of staff either volunteering or being deployed in response. 
  • The latest estimate has 17,000 hours logged from city staff and more than 10,000 hours logged from community volunteers.

While food and shelter will surely be reimbursed, transportation may not be covered.

"This might be a policy issue that we might want to look at," Congressman Cuellar said. 

For organizations like Catholic Charities that have bought thousands of bus tickets, that’d be a decent dollar, they wouldn’t get back. But those with the organization say they will continue to serve while they figure out a long-term solution for this major need.

"I know there are conversations to see how long this is sustainable for because we don’t really see an end in sight," Christina Higgs with Catholic Charities told KENS 5. 

KENS 5 did ask city leaders if they planned to ask for more funding and the Assistant City Manager told KENS 5 while this fiscal year they should be OK,  they may need to readdress next year’s budget to include the migrant response.