A vacant building in Homestead is scheduled to be transformed into an 800-bed temporary shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children who are under the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the federal agency announced Thursday.
The building is located at Southwest 285th Street on the 75-acre Homestead Job Corps site, a live-in school and vocational training program for at-risk students run by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The federal agencies are currently discussing the terms, conditions and timing of transforming the unoccupied building into a temporary shelter, although HHS reported that unaccompanied children could begin to arrive at the Homestead facility as early as February.
HHS is responsible for providing around-the-clock care and safety of unaccompanied immigrants who are 17-years-old and younger while they are in the United States. Children spend 32 days on average at the shelters and do not integrate into the local community, HHS officials reported in the announcement.
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The Department of Labor is assessing its future use of the building as a Job Corps site, and its use as a temporary shelter for unaccompanied children will not prevent U.S. citizens from participating in Job Corps training.
Federal officials suspended classes at Homestead Job Corps in late August after four students were arrested and charged with the machete murder of a classmate. Most Job Corps participants from the Miami-Dade area are being enrolled in the four other Job Corps centers in Florida, according to HHS.