ALMA, Mich. (AP) — A proposal to turn a former nursing home into temporary housing for young migrants is getting a lot of attention in a central Michigan community.

About 400 people attended a public hearing Monday at Alma High School. Warwick Living Center would be leased to Bethany Christian Services to provide housing for boys for up to 40 days or until a sponsor can be found.

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The boys, ages 12 to 17, crossed the southern U.S. border without parents or guardians and do not have legal status in this country.

The Alma Planning Commission is being asked to recommend approval of a rezoning request, which must ultimately go to the City Commission.

“We keep unaccompanied children safe,” said Krista Stevens of Bethany. “For many of them, this is truly a life-and-death situation.”

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Forty people spoke at the meeting, including 25 who opposed the rezoning, The Morning Sun reported.

“A legal entity can’t be denied an opportunity to operate as long as they comply with your requests,” former city attorney Chuck Fortino told the planning commission.

The rezoning request was tabled, 5-2, until another meeting on Aug. 2.

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