LOS ANGELES – Today, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, toured the Pomona Fairplex, which is serving as an emergency intake site to temporarily care for unaccompanied children who have recently come to the United States; they are expected to begin arriving to the site as soon as tomorrow. Supervisor Solis was joined by federal, state, and local representatives as well as community leaders on the tour, followed by a press conference.
This site will be operated by Cherokee Federal, through a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Los Angeles County and community partners are stepping up to provide support, leveraging the expertise of the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Health Services, Department of Mental Health and Los Angeles County Office of Education, as long as necessary.
“In moments of uncertainty, there is one thing that has always remained clear to me – Los Angeles County is firmly rooted in community,” said Chair Solis. “The Pomona Fairplex will do much more than serve as a temporary shelter — it will be a safe haven with holistic care and services to meet the immediate needs of these children while caseworkers are working day and night to reunite them with a family member or with a caring, qualified sponsor. As a daughter of immigrants and a public servant to so many County residents who are immigrants, I feel this responsibility strongly. Ultimately, the values of community and care for one another are what have led us through the darkness of the pandemic, and these principles will serve as our north star to address this humanitarian crisis, which is our collective responsibility.”
The Pomona Fairplex was identified by Supervisor Solis to serve as an emergency intake site because of its expansive campus for children to be sheltered safely, a recreational area for them to play, areas for learning, confidential space for legal services and counseling, and comfortable sleeping quarters. As a community benefit organization, the Pomona Fairplex has worked with Supervisor Solis to bring in other community partners like Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Tri-City Mental Health, Alma Family Services, The Alley Gallery and others to supplement and support the case management and programming of the HHS wrap-around service provider.
“We are proud to serve in this humanitarian effort. Fairplex serves as a community benefit organization; assisting with the shelter of unaccompanied children is the epitome of that mission,” said Walter M. Marquez, Interim CEO for the Pomona Fairplex. “Our Board has made it clear to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement that the safety and well-being of the children is of the utmost importance. We are confident that our campus will provide a welcoming and positive environment. We want to thank Supervisor Solis and the community for their incredible support. We have received encouraging emails, calls and messages on social media. This is indicative of the caring communities of Pomona and Los Angeles County.”
HHS has selected Cherokee Federal, a mission-focused contractor with robust experience serving the U.S. government around the world, to assemble a highly skilled team to operate the Pomona emergency intake site. Organized as Team Hope – hundreds of dedicated professionals will be focused on providing round-the-clock compassionate care, case management, medical and clinical services, proper nutrition, education, counseling, recreation and pro bono legal counsel.
“We have worked closely with our Team Hope partners to create a secure, nurturing and friendly environment where the children can feel welcomed, be cared for, play and learn,” said Steven Bilby, President of Cherokee Federal. “It is an honor to support HHS’ mission of facilitating the quick and safe placement of these children and youth with families and qualified sponsors.”
To learn more about the site, please refer to the frequently asked questions here. For information on the Unaccompanied Children Program managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement click here. For access to b-roll footage of the facility will be available on the Switch LA Pool 2 courtesy of ABC7. For access to photography of the facility, click here. Additional details including donation and volunteer opportunities are forthcoming.
Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Deputy, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov