CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (PIX11) – With more migrants from the southern border expected to arrive in New York City, the city is turning to public schools to house them.
In Coney Island, the gymnasium at the P.S. 188 elementary school is going to be used as a shelter for some of the asylum seekers, according to Council Member Justin Brannan.
“After being alerted by concerned community members last night, we spoke to City Hall regarding asylum seekers being sent to P.S. 188 in Coney Island. The city is staging the gymnasium building at P.S. 188 with the intent to house children with families,” the councilman tweeted.
Officials estimate around 500 migrants are arriving in New York City every day. They’re coming from countries in South America and Central America, and traveling through Mexico before ending up in New York City. However, with the COVID-19 immigration restrictions known as Title 42 expired, some officials believe the city could see thousands more arriving soon.
Coney Island parents told PIX11 News on Friday that they don’t like the plan to bring migrants into their kids’ schools.
“It’s going to be a disaster,” local mother Josephine said. “If there are migrants in the gym, the kids won’t have a gym. Their cafeteria is also downstairs by the gym. How will that work?”
A school gym may not have all the luxuries of an apartment or hotel room, but officials say it’s a roof over the head and a place of safety.
New York City Councilman Ari Kagan says all options are on the table when it comes to finding shelters for asylum seekers, but he doesn’t agree with everything city officials have planned.
“It’s inhumane to the immigrants [to keep them] stationed in a school gym,” Kagan said. “There are no showers. I understand it’s a crisis, and immigrants could be coming any minute or any day.”
Councilman Kagan says communication about the migrant housing plan needs to be improved, citing confusion over the process.
At other nearby Brooklyn public schools, some parents are worried that turning their local schools into shelters could eliminate after-school programs and activities for the kids and teens in the area.
“The Office of Emergency Management should notify all elected officials,” Lagan said. “And if it’s a school, they should also be notified properly.”