Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to reflect that New York Councilmember David Carr spoke on the possible vacate orders.
NEW YORK (PIX11) — Several migrant shelters across New York City are reportedly set to close in the coming days due to safety concerns, and migrant activists are worried about the impact this could have on asylum seekers who already face challenges being housed.
Power Malu is the executive director of the nonprofit Artists-Athletes-Activists and fears droves of asylum seekers could soon face housing insecurity, after reports that more than a dozen migrant shelters could be issued vacate orders by the FDNY.
“We’re afraid that we’re going to start seeing more migrants sleeping on the street,” said Malu. “We’re talking about human beings.”
Mayor Eric Adams’ office has not confirmed the closures but said the FDNY inspects emergency sites every day to monitor compliance with the city’s fire code. The mayor’s office also told PIX11 News that the city is constantly finding new sites that open and close as needed.
St. John Villa Academy on Staten Island has drawn controversy from neighbors since it opened and is among the sites that could be vacated, according to reports.
“It’s not the right location for a migrant shelter,” said Carla Mohan, who lives nearby. “It is directly across the street from a very large campus for young children.”
Elected officials joined together outside the school Friday morning calling for its closure after learning of those safety hazards.
“You cannot stuff people into shelters and ignore the fire code,” New York City Council member David Carr said. “This site, Villa, the Hungerford School over on Tompkins Avenue, and other places around the city have not been appropriate places for shelters, period.”
The potential vacate orders come as the mayor has been challenging the city’s right to shelter mandate, hoping to suspend the agreement as the influx of migrants overwhelms the shelter system. The Legal Aid Society represents many of the migrants and said this could have a chilling impact.
“If the city succeeds on the motion they told the court they want to make, we will definitely see mass street homelessness in New York City on a level we have never seen before,” said Kathryn Kliff of Legal Aid Society.
The mayor’s office did not answer PIX11’s questions asking about the specific plans for the migrants who could be forced out of their shelters; however, they did say that they are identifying new locations every day for asylum seekers to sleep.