The Pima County Board of Supervisors will be asked Aug. 6 to approve a deal allowing Catholic Community Services to lease unused space at the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center for asylum seekers.
CCS has been operating the third-largest migrant shelter in the United States at a former monastery in Tucson, but that arrangement will end July 31.
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger recently wrote to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry saying that if Tucson and Pima County do not provide aid to the Central American migrants “they will be left on the streets of Tucson to fend for themselves.”
In a memo to the supervisors, Huckelberry said that with “minimal improvements” to the detention center, Catholic Community Services would be able to provide shelter, food and other services to the asylum seekers.
He would like to lease three pods of the detention center to the organization for $100 per year. The pods can house up to 300 people and accommodate 50 volunteers per shift, he said.
In addition, the county would pay for building, operating and maintenance costs, including utilities, food service and laundry service, Huckelberry said. The county would seek reimbursement for those costs from the Department of Homeland Security.
Since last fall, approximately 10,000 asylum seekers have received help in Tucson. CSS provides temporary shelter to migrants along with food, clothing and hygiene items. Most of the migrants stay one to three days before leaving on buses to stay with relatives until their court date.