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Wyndham hotel turned into temporary shelter for migrants

Wyndham Garden hotel
Posted at 8:24 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 15:18:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) --  — The Wyndham Garden hotel in the Midway District is now a temporary shelter for migrants arriving from Mexico to San Diego.

State officials tell 10news it's part of the state's effort to help border communities. However, it has some people in the area a little concerned.

"This a large property in the middle of a very busy community,” Cathy Kenton said.

Kenton is the Chair of the Midway Pacific Highway Community Planning Group.

She said several people in the community started noticing changes at the Wyndham Garden hotel a few weeks ago.

"They're limiting access to the location. There are buses coming and going,” Kenton said.

A green fence surrounds the property on Sports Arena Boulevard closing it off to the public. White tents are set up inside and security guards are posted at the entrance.

A spokesperson with the state Department of Social Services said the site serves as an intake hub for migrants released from federal custody, providing them with COVID-19 testing, medical screenings, and travel.

The Wyndham became operational to serve migrants last month.

"There's certainly, in my personal opinion, nothing wrong with what they're doing, but it seems to make more sense to be a little more open and forthcoming to the community in particular,” Kenton said.

Kenton said that's because the community feels like they’re being left in the dark about what's going on.

It wasn't until 10news interviewed that she knew its operations, despite reaching out to the shelter.

She said it’s one of two reasons the community group is concerned.

“Two, It's not a very inviting use in the community as a closed-off, walled-off property,” Kenton said.

Here's the full statement from CA DSS:

"While the federal government is the lead on all matters related to immigration, California is undertaking humanitarian and public health efforts in border communities to support the temporary sheltering and health and safety of arriving migrants. This work includes establishing arriving migrant intake hubs – such as the Wyndham site you reference – that provide basic wraparound services including COVID-19 testing, medical screenings, and the coordination of onward travel for migrant adults and families after they are released from federal custody. Since April 2021, local, county, and state agencies began supporting these non-governmental organization-led sites in Southern California."

The state Department of Social Services said Catholic Charities of San Diego runs the site. We reached out to the organization for this story a few times but haven't heard back.