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Local nonprofits providing support, resources to migrants traveling through San Antonio

City officials say they are working with the federal government to manage and plan for potential increases of migrants coming from the Southern border.

SAN ANTONIO — Every day at 7 P.M. for the last two weeks, the basement at Travis Park Church turns into a place to sleep and eat for migrants traveling through San Antonio. 

Monica Sosa with Corazon Ministries is the director of the migrant shelter, which they operate in collaboration with the City of San Antonio. 

"We have seen some waves of folks come in, up to 150 people coming through, sometimes it’s less," she said. 

At this time, Sosa says there are enough resources available to serve the people coming in. She did say her team is also collaborating with other nonprofits to make sure the people coming into the shelter are able to safely and effectively navigate through the city. 

Corazon Ministries also preparing for even more increases in migrants coming to the city if Title 42 is lifted next month. The pandemic-era policy allowed Border Patrol to expel migrants as a COVID-19 precaution. 

Anticipating a potential surge in migrants, Sosa credits the hard work of her team and other volunteers in being able to serve as many people as possible. 

"Without them we wouldn’t be able to do this work," she said, adding that "although it has been a very intense two to three weeks, trying to figure out not necessarily solutions, but proactive approaches to try to again brace ourselves has been already such a really great learning experience." 

Credit: Corazon Ministries
The Corazon Ministries staff celebrating a family that was assisted with travel funds made possible by their ongoing efforts and collaboration with partners and the city.

Other organizations help migrants with hotel stays, transportation through the Greyhound Bus Center, or San Antonio airport.

A city spokesperson tells KENS 5 has received $434,377 in reimbursement funds from the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program for migrant service related costs  through September 2021. 

In a statement to KENS 5, the city says, "Locally, these funds are used by the City of San Antonio and our partners to provide welcoming, navigating onward travel through the Greyhound Bus Station and San Antonio International Airport, local transportation, food, commodities, overnight shelter, and other resources, as necessary."

Catholic Charities San Antonio is another nonprofit assisting migrants with travel. 

"We used to have maybe two employees that were helping people coming through the southern border and now we actually have five people because we cannot do it with only two people," said Antonio Fernandez, President and CEO of Catholic Charities San Antonio. 

He said their biggest need ahead of planning for increases of migrants in the city is volunteers or those looking to work for the nonprofit. 

"What we don’t want to have is on May 24th thousands of people here and no one here to help," he said. "We’re hiring more employees, more contractors, just to be sure that we can actually meet those people's needs."

Meanwhile, city officials say they are working with the federal government to manage and plan for potential increases of migrants coming from the Southern border.

In a statement to KENS 5, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said:

“There might be some who are eager to politicize a change in federal policy, but in San Antonio – we just want to ensure that the migrants passing through our city are treated as humanely as possible while guaranteeing that our local partners and resources are not stretched beyond their limits. We are in constant communication with federal officials to make this process work as efficiently as possible.”