Persisting Struggle: Dozens of NYC Migrants Still Sleeping on East Village Streets Despite City EffortsDecember 5, 2023
As migrants sleep out in the cold after hitting city limits on how long they can stay in shelters, they criticize official efforts to get them off the street, saying it boils down to an iffy wait list. “It’s bulls—,” Maikol Chavez said in Spanish, pointing to a red band on his wrist. Earlier this year, the Adams administration started giving single adult migrants in shelters 30-day notices — in languages including Arabic, French and Spanish — informing them they had to get out. Since then, the city has put them on a list to get back into shelter, with many of them lining up outside the St. Brigid School in the East Village to wait for a placement to open up. For those who don’t get a spot, they’re directed to a Bronx building where they can spend the night. Many end up back on line in the East Village the next day. Mammad Mahmoodi, co-founder and executive director of EVLoves NYC, said the 30-day notices increased recently and more people needed shelter ahead of Thanksgiving. Every day, migrants start at the line anew. The city assigned wristbands to let them come back and take their places in the order in which they had arrived. On Sunday night, around 40 migrants camped out outside the building, putting up layers of plastic over metal barricades on the sidewalk. “The situation is also critical because we are in a season that is Christmas and is not the same as in other countries. Here the temperatures gets below zero,” Chavez said. Josh Goldfein, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society, said migrants are likely to continue sleeping outside the re-ticketing center as long as the closest short-term shelter for them is in the Bronx. Amid the migrant surge, the city has been offering all migrants a bus or plane ticket out of the Big Apple. “As the temperature starts to drop, we will continue to do our best to keep the line indoors and provide an indoor waiting room for migrants when the center is closed,” mayoral spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak said in a statement.