The Douglas church that was serving as a temporary shelter for migrants is no longer housing those dropped of in the city. The city instead has opened one of its facilities to those who need a place to go.

A section of the Douglas visitor center is now being used as a rest area for migrants. The church, that has been hosting migrants since last fall, needed their parish hall back.

City Manager Ana Urquijo says local leaders have been preparing for months to provide a space for the street releases.

The conference room at the visitor center has temporarily been set up to host those dropped off.

“The alternative is what,” Urquijo said. “If there’s no space for street releases, and families, and individuals that are waiting for transportation, (they’re going) to be waiting in our parks or in our shopping centers.”

Cots, tables, charging areas and a coloring station for kids are set up around the room. Since the space has opened, Urquijo says the most migrants they’ve had is between 40 and 50.

“It’s been so fluid, we don’t know how many we’ll receive,” she said.

Urquijo says the street releases in Douglas have died down since Easter.

The city is providing the space and behind-the-scenes support for this “humanitarian effort”, but volunteers from different churches are the people managing and running the operations to help the migrants get to where they want to go.

We were just very thankful for their contributions,” Urquijo said. “Now it’s time for the city to step up for a little bit and provide a facility, although not to the extent that they were providing; and we’ll just continue working through this program and see what happens.

She says the respite area is only operational during the hours the visitor center is open, as the space doesn’t qualify as an overnight shelter.