Emergency court hearing held in NYC after asylum seekers moved from Roosevelt Hotel

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, August 4, 2023
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MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- As New York City struggles to house the influx of asylum seekers, the city says it will set up two more respite centers as an emergency court hearing was held.

The emergency court hearing was held Friday to discuss New York City's Right to Shelter law.

With the surge of asylum seekers -- more than 95,000 -- Mayor Eric Adams moved to suspend the law which forces the city to immediately place people in the shelter system. That decision is facing legal action.

A judge ordered the city to present a list of needs, including resources and facilities owned or operated bye the state, which it considers necessary.

The Legal Aid Society and migrants hope the help comes not only from the state, but the federal level as well.

Legal Aid staff attorney Joshua Goldfein called the migrants staying outside the Roosevelt Hotel a "clear violation of the law."

"And we heard the mayor saying we should expect that everything would go downhill from here, for that reason we felt we had no other choice but to come to court and ask the judge to enforce the consent decree," Goldfein said.

Meanwhile all of the asylum seekers who were sleeping outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown are now in temporary housing.

Ted Long of the city's Health + Hospitals said the city will "do everything in our power to avoid forming a line again" outside the hotel.

He said that if a line forms again, it's because the city "exhausted all options we can and we need the federal government to help."

The city is setting up centers for asylum seekers at two Brooklyn parks -- McCarren and Sunset parks -- that will house 80 to 100 adults each.

The rec centers at both locations will be used as respite centers, where traditionally asylum seekers stay for a couple days.

At McCarren Play Center in Greenpoint, the migrants will be housed in the south wing. The area has toilets but no showers, which will be brought in. Asylum seekers will enter through a separate door next to the skate park. Public access to the pool and fitness center will not be impacted.

The Sunset Park Recreation Center appears to currently be undergoing construction and not open to the public.

City officials are looking at shifting select respite centers to long term stays, and is doing so at two other respite centers next week.

But not every place has been an ideal situation, according to some communities in Manhattan.

In the basement of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on the Upper West Side, frustrations and concerns over safety as a result of migrants being housed nearby, dominated a community meeting.

They say some of the asylum seekers being housed at The Stratford Arms on 70th Street are destroying their neighborhood. The community has complained of drug use, noise complaints and out-of-control e-bikes.

ALSO READ | Line of migrants sleeping outside stretches around Roosevelt Hotel's Midtown block

The Mayor's Office says more than 93,000 asylum seekers have come through the city's intake system since last spring. Sonia Rincon has more.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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