MANHATTAN (PIX11) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams said when it comes to the migrant crisis, you got to have faith.
Monday, the mayor was joined by faith leaders to announce many houses of worship would set up shelters to help care for the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who have come to the city.
More than 72,000 migrants have come to the city, and New York is still directly caring for around 46,000– Primarily in hotels and other temporary shelters.
“I would rather people be in houses of worship where they are connected to people, care, compassion, and community than being in a congregate setting,” Adams said.
About 50 churches, temples and other faith facilities will initially host smaller 19-person groups of single adult migrant men, creating around 1,000 beds.
The Muslim Community Center in Sunset Park is already doing this work.
“As people of faith know, faith must not just reside in your hearts, but must be in your actions,” said Sonya Ali of MCC. “As Muslims, we are ready to step up and help our brothers and sisters of humanity.”
Locations will span the city, and different church groups will do different things. For example, some will offer supplies and services, and other churches will act as daytime rest centers.
The effort will not be entirely charitable. The city is subsidizing faith groups through a contract with the group New York Disaster Interfaith Services.
The Mayor said the city has already spent $1.2 billion since last May on the crisis. Adams said working with faith groups will be more cost-effective per person than the network of 160 or so hotels the City has cobbled together to help the asylum seekers.
“It’s going to cost us about $125 per night, far cheaper than what we are paying in the emergency hotels,” Adams promised.
He said his administration is trying to figure out a way to create contracts with small landlords and homeowners who may have an extra room in the house for an asylum seeker.