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Fabens Health and Human Services Center to close in two weeks

Updated: Monday, August 19 2013, 11:15 PM MDT

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas -- Frustration was the theme in Fabens on Monday night as a special town hall meeting was held to inform residents that the area Health and Human Services Center will be closing on September 3rd.

In total, 56 centers across Texas are being forced to either close down, or consolidate, due to a $27 billion shortfall in state funding.

"They didn't even give us a chance to fight to try to save our office, this was what, two years ago and we're barely hearing it now? It's not right," said Susan Sierra, a longtime Fabens resident.

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez and state Sen. Jose Rodriguez didn't have a say in the closing of the center, but they hosted the forum because they wanted to let the community know what their options are, and they know how important the center is.

"It provides everything from Medicaid applications, TANF applications, SNAP, WIC, this really is the center that makes sure people have healthy food and access to healthcare."

Although the center will be closing, the services won't be stopping.

The Head Starts in Fabens, Tornill, and Clint will provide the same services, along with Centro San Vicente and AYUDA, both in San Elizario.

Benny Davis, the man who owns the building the center is located in, previously cut the rent in half to try to help the center stay. He offered to cut it in half once again Monday night, even though it would mean a loss in revenue.

"I'm willing to suffer that loss for a period of time, six months or whatever, so that the people of Fabens don't have to lose their facility," Davis said.

The executive commissioner of Health and Human Services turned down that offer. He promised residents their services will not be slashed, but many people still left Monday's meeting unsatisfied with what they heard, and unsure of the future.

"There's people here that can't even get out of their bed, much less they have to look for a ride. They have no access to computers. They don't even know how to turn on a computer, and these people here are expecting them to automatically learn these things overnight. It's impossible," Sierra said.

Fabens Health and Human Services Center to close in two weeks

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