Emsworth officials, Holy Family Institute meet on plan to host immigrant children
Holy Family Institute and Emsworth Borough officials met for the first time on Wednesday to discuss the Catholic nonprofit's plans to provide temporary shelter to children who illegally entered the United States without parents or guardians, officials said.
“I've been OK with what I've heard so far. But I represent the people of Emsworth, and a lot of them have some major concerns. These will need to be addressed,” Mayor Dee Quinn said.
Quinn and Holy Family's CEO, Sister Linda Yankoski, said a public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 29 in the Emsworth borough building at 171 Center Ave. A presentation on the plans will be followed by a question-and-answer session, Quinn said.
“We want to allay their concerns,” Yankoski said.
The Tribune-Review reported on Tuesday on Holy Family's plans to take in 20 children as old as 12 and ultimately as many as 36 — a prospect that concerned some residents. Quinn said then she was “stunned” to learn of the plans, noting Holy Family had not notified the borough.
Nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children, most from Central America, have flooded the United States since October, straining the federal Unaccompanied Alien Children program, which has 100 permanent shelters. Efforts to find room in temporary locations elsewhere have generated protests and complaints.
It remains unknown when Holy Family might accept children. It needs to hire several people who can speak Spanish to work with the children, including a clinician, case manager and youth counselors.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.