The plight of asylum-seeking migrants has been dominating the news lately, with a focus on the conditions from which these people are fleeing to the conditions they face upon reaching the border between Mexico and the US.
Here in Ensenada, there is a shelter that has long been an oasis not only for migrants in transit, but also for any indigent members of society who may find their way to its doors.
Located in Colonia Bustamante on Calle Novena 691 (691 9th Street), between Revolucion & Benito Juarez (near the Los Globos shopping area), the shelter provides meals, hot baths and temporary shelter for these people.
The shelter is equipped with laundry service, as well as recreational area behind its two-story structure. Every resident is expected to maintain good hygiene, and is responsible not only for keeping his/her area clean, but also in helping in the daily chores of cleaning the kitchen and common areas.
Applicants are not accepted if under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, addiction therapy is one of the many services that the shelter provides.
Ana Maria Acosta Iglesias has been the administrator and caretaker of the shelter since its inception in 1996. In the subsequent 23 years of service, she estimates that it has served well in excess of 50,000 people.
In addition to religious services, San Vicente offers medical and dental care, development of social skills, discounts on city and state government services, such as bus tickets, insurance and immigration services.
In 2016, El Vigia reported that San Vicente ended the year with a deficit of $68,000 pesos.
Acosta has repeatedly requested that the Ministry of Social Development (a State Government agency), increase its donation of $20,000 pesos monthly (slightly more than $1,000 USD), but her requests have not been answered. She says that the amount has been the same since the shelter opened 23 years ago.
The deficit situation has not improved in the subsequent years.
Currently, Albergue San Vicente has a program called “Empty Bowls,” which obviously refers to the challenges facing the institution in regards to providing enough food for its residents and applicants.
You can help Acosta’s humanitarian efforts by donating food, clothing, blankets and cleaning and maintenance supplies; money is also greatly needed to pay for building maintenance, services and administrative expenses. Or you can volunteer your time and help in the kitchen by preparing food, or by offering any service that may be your specialty.
Clothing donations are welcome on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, any time of day.
All other donations are welcome any day, any time.
Please drop by the shelter at the address above, or call for an appointment: (646) 192.1216.
Office hours are 10 am – 12 noon, and 4 pm – 8 pm.
Interviews for new arrivals wishing to avail themselves of the Shelter’s many services are conducted from 4:30 pm – 8 pm.
Please be a part of the solution for this humanitarian crisis. The need is great, but if everyone gives just a little, many will receive the benefits.