New York City migrants express concerns over shelter conditions ahead of new curfew

ByAnthony Carlo WABC logo
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Migrants express concerns over shelter conditions as new curfew takes effect
Anthony Carlo has more from Floyd Bennett Field.

BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- As New York City migrants face a looming curfew set to take effect Tuesday night, Eyewitness News dives deeper into the conditions many of them are living in at shelters across the city.

Reporter Anthony Carlo spoke to some migrant mothers who described the conditions of the so-called "tent city" at Floyd Bennett Field.

The trek home from school for mothers and their kids can feel a little bit longer and a lot colder with so much weighing on their minds.

Four-year-old Valentina's nasty cough is only getting worse, as is everything else for her and her mother, the longer they stay at Floyd Bennett Field.

"That's not a place for children. It's not a decent place for children to be," migrant mother Yenifer Vargas said said.

Wind rattled the tents at the migrant shelter as rain leaked in on December 17. It was one of several big storms. Just last week, bad weather forced parents and their kids to spend the night sleeping on the floors of a school.

"They told me that we would have a decent place to live, they told me I'd have support finding work, they told me I'd have support with my children. Those were lies," Vargas said.

The clock is ticking for Vargas and her three kids. In just weeks they will be evicted and have to re-apply for shelter once they hit their 60-day limit.

It's the city's latest move to urge migrants to find permanent housing - but many, like one migrant mother, say they are having no luck getting help.

Ayimar Araque says it's been a struggle to apply for work authorization and complete other casework.

"I'm given a phone number that I'm supposed to call, but I get an answering machine," she said.

As these migrant families trudge through the snow trying to stand on their own two feet, the city vows not to let a single family sleep on the street, but when the alternative is a tent shelter where an overflowing toilet is the least of their worries, the better life they are looking for seems illusive.

"Having families in temporary shelters, on a flood plain, at a location that's six to seven miles from their school, is inhumane," said Julianne Chandler, parent coordinator at PS 315.

She is one of several parents from the Brooklyn school who took it upon themselves to gather donations, and anything to make life more comfortable for migrant families at Floyd Bennett Field who say a simple hotel room would be better than this.


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