Migrant shelter for pregnant women to close over fire code violations

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SAN DIEGO — One of the oldest migrant shelters in San Diego — and the only one catering specifically to pregnant women — will soon close its doors after officials said the sleeping accommodations violate fire code.

“It was going to require a quarter-million dollars to put in sprinkler systems so people could stay over night,” Dr. Bill Jenkins, the shelter’s founder, told FOX 5.

Jenkins says the shelter at a Normal Heights church simply does not have that kind of cash, so they will partner with other churches and organizations like the San Diego Rapid Response Network to find longer term beds for the continuing arrival of migrants.

“We’ve have 10 congregations and 15 homes. We are making an appeal to other for individual homes to open up to us,” Jenkins said, of the effort to find beds for all who need them.

There are 47 people left staying at the ministry, where they have had to make accommodations that meet fire codes. There are different families sharing bunk beds in one room and a community hall and kitchen that will also serve as sleeping quarters at night with cots.

Moving forward, the church will still hold services and Wednesday craft events, but when asked about the long-term plan, Jenkins said: “It’s hard to plan when the government gives us whiplash, but my plan is that we will do as much as we can for as long as we can.”

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