An emergency shelter at the Long Beach Convention Center housing migrant children who arrived unaccompanied at the U.S.-Mexico border closed a week ahead of schedule Friday, with all children placed with families or sponsors.
According to the city, 1,538 children were brought to the center since it opened on April 22. The facility had a capacity to hold up to 1,000 children at a time.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had previously announced plans to begin closing some of the shelters, which were opened in multiple states to provide alternative temporary housing for migrant children amid an uptick in activity at the border.
The Long Beach center had been expected to close Aug. 2.
“I’m incredibly proud of our city for stepping up and welcoming these kids,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in announcing the early closure of the facility. “This humanitarian mission has always been about ensuring the safe reunification of families and we are so grateful for the opportunity to help.”
According to the city, the Long Beach facility primarily housed girls aged 5 and older, with most housed for an average of 19 days. About 130,000 items were donated to the operation, including food, toiletries, clothing, baby care items and 30,000 toys.
“Since its opening, the Long Beach Emergency Intake Shelter has been an example of the care we can provide when staff, volunteers, local leaders and neighboring communities come together to support a temporary shelter,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “I want to extend my gratitude to the staff, the volunteers and all the members of the community who contributed to creating a safe place for unaccompanied children.”
Another HHS shelter for migrant children is still operating at the Pomona Fairplex.
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