Many NYC migrants forced to re-apply for housing after stay set to expire

ByAnthony Carlo WABC logo
Sunday, January 7, 2024
Many NYC migrants forced to re-apply for housing after stay set to expire
Anthony Carlo has more from the East Village.

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Like a lost soul, Ricardo Dominguez Reyes wanders the East Village. The asylum seeker came to New York all the way from Honduras, hoping to get help at an intake center - to no avail.

"He said it's closed. Maybe I'll sleep in park - It's too much cold. No eat - three days, no east," Reyes said.

Hundreds of adult migrants waited in the cold on Saturday outside the St. Brigid School - rushing to re-apply for shelter. Their stay expires every 30 days.

It all came to a head when one asylum seeker tried to cut the line - causing a fight that injured two police officers.

Krystal Gordon lives nearby.

"There' always altercations with them, because they're trying to fight for survival. They're fighting for survival so there's going to be altercations because it's unorganized," Gordon says.

Immigration advocates are anticipating more chaos this week when the first wave of migrant families run out of time in the shelter system.

The city is issuing more than 4,000 notices to asylum seekers with children, warning their 60-day limit is set to expire.

That is not really freeing up space like intended, says Liza Schwartzwald.

"It's really just sort of punishing people who have been here for longer," she says.

The New York Immigration Coalition says the city's short-term fix is failing, and it should instead prioritize permanent housing by expanding its voucher program for asylum seekers.

Sunday was a peaceful night in the East Village, but people who live in the neighborhood say it has been a chaotic past few days. They echo what migrant advocates say - that there must be a better way to help asylum seekers.

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