3 New York City public school gyms to house incoming asylum seekers

In New York City, migrants will be housed in at least three different public schools, as Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel is transformed into a processing center.

The hotel is now opening 175 rooms for families, with plans to open an additional 675 rooms later this week.

Some asylum seekers arrived at PS 188 in Coney Island, Brooklyn on Sunday.

About 75 adult migrants are staying in the gym that is not connected to the school and they don’t have access to the school. It’s not clear how long they will be staying.

“I’m Ukrainian myself. And I support refugees,” a parent said. “I think the city should organize the safety for the neighborhood, the city’s responsible.”

But not all parents of PS 188 are as welcoming. Some say they’re weren’t notified, and one says she learned about new shelter during our interview.

“You mean as far as living? And how temporary is this? I don’t think it’s a good idea because it’s inside of a school,” said Monique Mardie, a parent of PS 188 student.

“God forbid a kid goes missing. What’s Eric Adams going to say? I’m sorry? No, something needs to be done,” said Destiny Martin, sister of PS 188 student.

Two other schools will also be used as shelters, PS 17 in Williamsburg and a former school in the Clifton section of Staten Island.

Some 300 adults will be staying at the school, which has already been filled with cots.

The New York City School Safety Coalition raised safety concerns, saying the move puts students of the school at risk and it’s asking Mayor Eric Adams to find other places to house the migrants.

A Union for school safety agents says their responsibility is to protect school children, not migrants.

Meanwhile, the decision to convert schools to shelters hasn’t exactly been met with open arms by city leaders. They’ve criticized Adams for the lack of communication and planning.

“First time I learned about it was from a social media post on Facebook from the principal of that school. This is not the way, and while they’re saying it’s a very fluid situation, because nobody knows what can happen,” said Ari Kagan, New York City Councilmember.

Hotels in Yonkers and Midtown are also being used as emergency shelters, adding to the 140 shelters that have already opened throughout the city.

Officials including the mayor of Yonkers say they barely got any notice that migrant families will be staying at the Ramada, and it’s still not clear how many or when they’ll be arriving. Eyewitness News is told the hotel made its rooms unavailable to regular guests, starting with checkout on Sunday to make space for asylum seekers being bused up from the city, which has made it clear it is running out of shelter space.

“You don’t know who the people are, how many there are,” said Yonkers City Councilmember Anthony Merante.

The Ramada is in Merante’s district. He says he would also like to know how long the migrants will be there.

“This is not an extended stay hotel. This is a week, maybe two weeks or something like that. This can’t accomodate people. There’s no cooking inside here as far as I know,” Merante added.

New York City has not been shy about admitting this is a crisis it is dealing with. It took in more than 4,200 migrants just this past week alone as it scrambles to find them shelter, but it is running out of space – and the buses continue to come.

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