NYC to offer asylum seekers hotel rooms in Rockland and Orange counties, angering some locals

New York City will offer to start sending single adult men seeking asylum to two hotels in Rockland and Orange counties, a plan that is already meeting fierce resistance from officials in those areas.

In a press release late Friday, Mayor Eric Adams said the hotel program would be voluntary. The city intends to house migrants for up to four months and provide them with the same city-funded services – such as food, bedding and healthcare – delivered by the emergency response centers in New York City.

But it’s unclear how many migrants would be interested in relocating for four months to a smaller community with fewer job opportunities and a less robust public transit system.

On Friday afternoon, officials at the Rockland County Department of Social Services issued an angry statement opposing Adam’s plan.

“This is absurd, and we will not stand for it,” said Ed Day, the Rockland County executive. “There is nothing humanitarian about a sanctuary city sending busloads of people to a county that does not have the infrastructure to care for them. It’s the same as throwing them in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to swim.”

In the press release, Rockland County officials said Adams had called a town supervisor early Friday and informed them of a plan to send migrants “with few other details aside from they’ll be housed in a local hotel.”

They said officials later learned that the city intended to house about 340 adult men in an Orangeburg hotel called Armoni Inn and Suite.

Advocates for the homeless have been critical of the city’s handling of the issue. They say the mayor has not done enough to address the shortage of affordable housing. The city’s homeless population has soared under Adams.

“The city is struggling to meet its legal obligation to comply with local law and multiple court orders to ensure shelter for anyone in need, asylum seekers included,” said Joshua Goldfein, a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society.

He urged city officials to provide more assistance to help those currently in city shelters to transition to permanent housing, a move that would presumably free up more space to accommodate new arrivals.

More than 60,8000 migrants have come to New York City since last spring, according to the latest count by city officials. Roughly 37,500 are still receiving shelter and services.

Adams has increasingly expressed his frustration with the Biden administration over the lack of funding for the migrant crisis, which city officials say could cost more than $4 billion over the next two years.

The news of the plan to send migrants outside the city comes on the same day that federal officials announced $30 million in funding for migrant assistance. The city had initially applied for $350 million in emergency funds.

A spokesperson for the mayor said the federal funding was not enough.

“This is both disappointing and woefully insufficient for a city that has carried the cost of sheltering, feeding, and supporting more than 60,000 asylum seekers in the last year,” said Fabien Levy, the mayor’s press secretary. “New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously throughout this crisis and we look forward to working closely with our congressional delegation to remedy this serious mistake.”

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