WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last year, Erie, Pennsylvania temporarily housed nearly 150 unaccompanied children after facilities near the U.S.-- Mexico border became overcrowded. Ever since, Congressman Mike Kelly (R- PA) has pressed for answers on this site. While he has received some info, he told us many of his questions are still left unanswered.  

“I left and I said, ‘Well I’m gonna know and need to see the contracts you’re all involved with, we need to know,’” said Rep. Mike Kelly. He discussed his time trying to visit the Pennsylvania Academy site on Oliver Road off Peach Street in Erie last April. The Department of Health and Human Services used this as an emergency intake site for nearly 150 migrant children. Within days, the children were moved out. Ever since, Kelly questioned the Department’s Secretary, even sending several letters, trying to get info about this site and about the children.  

In a letter, the Department said the kids were transferred to another emergency intake site in Michigan, other state-licensed facilities, or placed them with vetted sponsors.  

We learned the dormitories they were using at the Erie site were in need of extensive repair. Inspectors citing about 30 gas leaks with open PVC pipes allowing direct access for rodents. In previous reports, gas was shut off in some wings, and space heaters were brought in, but the government moved quickly to relocate the children.  

“If they had some concerns with that facility, weren’t those concerns taken care of before they brought the children in,” questioned Kelly.  

And lastly: 

“What was the total cost to our taxpayers,” asked Kelly.  

Kelly said the Department sent a contract but it’s unclear how much this temporary stay costs.  

In hopes of getting all of these questions answered, Kelly is sponsoring a Resolution which would require the HHS Secretary to provide copies of the contract with the Erie site to the House of Representatives.  

 “What they gave back to us with is casual and it’s incomplete and it doesn’t give us any solid answers,” said Kelly. “I think it’s time and our taxpayers expect it and our citizens expect it.”  

We reached out to HHS on this but did not hear back before this story aired.