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Will San Antonio use additional $48 million to bolster housing for migrants after Title 42?

Both Catholic Charities and the City of San Antonio now have access to millions of dollars. Neither has said much on how the funds will be used.

SAN ANTONIO — Congressman Henry Cuellar announced Friday the San Antonio community would receive about $48 million to help migrants from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program National Board. 

Cuellar's office assisted in securing the funds. Catholic Charities of San Antonio will receive the biggest slice of funds, nearly $40 million, while United Way San Antonio and the city will get about $1.6 million and just under $6.75 million, respectively.

But are the extra resources too late? Catholic Charities CEO Antonio Fernandez said last week that the Migrant Resource Center it operates at 7000 San Pedro Ave. is already overcrowded. Cuellar worries the situation will only get worse in San Antonio. 

"Now there are so many people coming in that if we don't provide assistance, you are going to have migrants sleeping in the parks and on the street," Cuellar said. "This is why the almost $48 million dollars... is for those entities to provide food, shelter and medicine." 

Cuellar said it would also be possible for the entities to use that money on plane tickets for migrants, before adding that wouldn't be his preferred strategy. Instead, he says, migrants should be able to get shelter and food in San Antonio with those funds while their family members organize their travel affairs. 

KENS 5 asked both Catholic Charities and the City of San Antonio on multiple occasions how they were planning to handle the increase of migrants the area is expected to see as Title 42 expires, with hundreds of thousands of migrants expected at the border each day. Both have remained mostly tight-lipped about their plans, but Catholic Charities did outline its broad-strokes efforts in a statement provided on Fernandez's behalf Wednesday.

"Catholic Charities is working with local and federal agencies on funding," the statement reads. "The funding we receive supports the humanitarian aid in the form of basic needs like food and clothing.  We are also in the process of accessing resources, hiring staff, and providing for the needs of those passing through."

KENS 5 asked Fernandez on Friday if he had been working with the city to look at other potential locations to house migrants, in addition to north-side downtown resource center. 

"There's been some conversations about different locations, but right now they are so remote that I don't want to talk about them," he said. "We're talking about different options that we can do right now, soon. It's hard for me to do all these things when we don't know how much money the government is going to give us." 

KENS 5 asked Catholic Charities the same questions after the funds were announced late Friday, but a spokesperson couldn't say if they will still looking at additional space. 

The City of San Antonio told KENS 5 on Friday the city manager was not aware of any such discussions. A city spokeswoman released a statement last week stating that the number of migrants in the city had quadrupled, but has not been able to provide a statement on their plans for the money since that time. 

A spokeswoman for District 2 City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said the city is having internal discussions right now, but they are keeping that information confidential for the time being. 

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