TUCSON, Ariz. — Thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum have walked through the doors of the Benedictine Monastery in the past six months.
But they won't be able to do so for much longer. The city's lease to use the monastery ends on July 30, when the monastery will close for construction.
"We've had up to 400 people in the Benedictine at one time," Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik said. "There's not another facility in Tucson that's going to be able to hold that number of capacity."
Kozachik says this month, the city, county, and nonprofit agencies who are involved in sheltering the migrants have found at least one new facility.
"I can tell this community with 100 percent certainty, that on August 1, we will not be doing street releases," Kozachik said.
Kozachik says it's likely there will be more than one location. And overflow shelters, like his Ward 6 office, will still be available, as needed.
No one is sure when the demand for shelters will stop. Kozachik says one of the hurdles of finding a new, more permanent spot is one with a long-term lease.
"The goal is to find a facility, and I think we've got some in play, where we're talking about well over six months," Kozachik said. "That's the goal. And as soon as we can check that last box, then we can all take a little bit of a deeper breath."
Kozachik says the announcement of the new shelter could come as early as the Fourth of July.