Local governments told little about plans for shelter to house migrant kids

The General Services Administration is asking to hear from property owners in Northern Virginia who are interested in leasing land to the feds for a shelter that would house unaccompanied migrant children.

But, at this point, there aren’t a lot of details for local governments to work with and comment on yet.

The GSA requirements ask for about 100,000 square feet of space inside that would house sleeping facilities, classrooms, indoor recreational areas, medical facilities, and food and dining services. The facility would also need to offer 2 acres of outdoor space for playgrounds and recreation fields.

“I think it would be difficult to find a place like that anywhere in Prince William County without having a significant impact on the neighborhoods,” said county Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

He’s strongly opposed to seeing the proposed shelter built in the county, and added that he believes county residents would also be concerned if the federal government went forward without local input.

That brings up another concern: The GSA proposal request said any facility would need to be licensed by the state of Virginia.

But with so little known about the project, officials in other jurisdictions say they aren’t sure if they would even have a say in the matter, though it seems likely they would explore all available options.

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said the city was made aware by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that a search was underway but wasn’t providing any other details.

Stewart said his county has not been contacted by the federal government and was “in the dark” about any plans the feds might have.

The GSA is hoping to hear from interested land owners by next week, with proposals due next month.

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