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Study shows housing of unaccompanied minors in San Angelo will have economic impact

A study conducted by Goodfellow Air Force Base found that the housing of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children will not have an environmental impact on San Angelo, but it will have an economic one.

The military base published the study on Tuesday for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The Fairfield Inn and Suites is one of several hotels located in San Angelo and the hotel's staff told KTXS News that nearly 75 percent of their rooms are currently being occupied.

Diann Bayes, the Vice President of Convention and Visitors Bureau for San Angelo, said that the average hotel occupancy rate for the City of San Angelo is at about 62 percent.

"We have 2,800 hotel rooms in San Angelo, so if you think about that, there are only about a thousand rooms available," Bayes said.

That number could present a problem for government workers because the study stated that the government employees need to take care of as many as 7,500 unaccompanied immigrant children that the Trump Administration is planning to temporarily house at Goodfellow Air Force Base.

According to the study, the federal employees will stay at hotels off-base, with at least two of them sharing a room, and in total, the 7,500 workers will fill roughly 3,750 rooms a night for up to 6 months.

Nathania Cisneroz, the director of sales at the Fairfield Inn, said that federal workers who are on a per diem do not pay an occupancy tax and that their rate is usually at $90 per night.

"Occupancy taxes actually directly affect your community because for instance, here in San Angelo, they pay for organizations like the [Convention and Visitors Bureau]," Cisneroz said.

Nonetheless, even at the per diem rate of $90 per night, that is up to $60 million in hotel stays in the City of San Angelo.

Some of that lodging money will end up in Abilene and Brownwood, which were listed in the study as other places where the government workers could stay.

The federal government expects 1,000 children and 1,000 employees to arrive every week for seven and a half weeks at Goodfellow Air Force Base.

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