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Migrants Are Still Cold and Hungry and City Hall Still Isn’t Doing Much About It

As local groups and politicians try to solve the problem, City Hall is sitting on its hands.

(Hell Gate)

For almost three months now, thousands of single male migrants staying in City shelters have been forced every 30 days to return to a "reticketing center" at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village, where they must wait several days and jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to be assigned another shelter stay (for another 30 days, before they have to do it all again). While they wait, migrants are forced to crisscross the city for food and shelter, upending  their daily routines, like any informal work they've been able to find. This is all an effort by the Adams administration to make life so difficult for migrants that they move on and accept a free ticket to another location (relatively few do), or just drop off the map entirely and stop seeking shelter from the City. Adams has hailed this whole process recently as a success, saying that it has helped the City save money

Some councilmembers—the East Village's Carlina Rivera, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Diana Ayala, the chair of the council's Committee on General Welfare—are now calling on City Hall to make the process of reapplying for shelter less painful. In a letter sent last Friday to City Hall and obtained by Hell Gate, the three councilmembers urge City Hall to take a few simple steps to help migrants—like opening more reticketing centers in each of the boroughs.

From the letter:

With more than one center and a consideration for locations in each borough, the City can ensure people do not stand on line in the cold without access to even basic facilities like bathrooms. Multiple locations would also ensure that people are closer to culturally competent, community-based programs and services.

The letter goes on to say that four locations in the East Village neighborhood have been identified as places where migrants can stay inside from the cold and elements, receive food, and use the restroom, if the City were to give the go-ahead to integrate them into the often-chaotic situation at the reticketing center. "Resources are needed in keeping up with quality of life issues and it appears that efficiency at St. Brigid’s has been in decline, with travel hardships and the overall cost-effectiveness of the process in place in question," they wrote. "Without a support network available even locally to those waiting, public safety concerns have increased."

While the letter was only sent on Friday, the four potential locations for possible waiting rooms near the reticketing center were actually pointed out to the City's Emergency Management Department much earlier this month by local community organizations. There has been no response from City Hall to the councilmembers' letter or to the suggestion of new waiting spaces, according to Rivera's office.  

In a statement to Hell Gate, a City Hall spokesperson said that they are looking forward to reviewing the letter and appreciate the "recognition that our administration’s strategies for managing this national crisis are working" (no such recognition exists in the letter). They continued, "Since opening the reticketing center last fall, we have worked to foster a welcoming and safe environment for asylum seekers, community residents, and visitors—identifying accommodations for people and addressing quality-of-life concerns as they arise."

The councilmembers clearly believe those efforts are severely lacking. 

But of course, City Hall is now fully consumed by a different beef they have with the City Council.

Let's override (with our cursor) some of these links:

  • The City Council is set to override the mayor's vetoes of two bills today—the How Many Stops Act, which would make the NYPD record demographic data for low-level police encounters, and another that would stop the use of solitary confinement in City jails. Eric Adams has been on a media blitz on the How Many Stops Act in particular over the past two weeks, trying everything in his power to get the City Council to not override his veto, or at the very least, make clear that he's opposed to the legislation so that if crime goes up, he can blame the City Council and not his own administration. So how did his efforts to get councilmembers to change their minds go? Not great. The council is set to override his vetoes this afternoon. Follow Hell Gate for continuing coverage. 
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