Wednesday, November 29, 2023

More asylum seekers are lining up for help at the former St. Brigid School in the East Village

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 
Note: Faces of the asylum seekers have been blurred 

The former St. Brigid School is seeing an overwhelming number of asylum seekers this week here on Seventh Street and Avenue B. 

The site is being used for "reticketing" services ... which help provide transportation to asylum seekers bussed to NYC but whose final destination is elsewhere.

In recent weeks, up to 150 people — all adult males, no children — come through the site on a given day. On Monday, more than 650 were at the former school, which is not offering beds or shelter now. 

On Monday, the volunteer-run East Village Loves NYC handed out 275-plus Halal meals to the men waiting outside. Below are Sasha Allenby and Mammad Mahmoodi from EV Loves NYC...
Most of these asylum seekers reported they were hungry and had no food. They also said they had been removed from other shelters after 30 days and hoped to find another respite center to await a final destination in the States. (Mayor Adams has limited the amount of time adult migrants can stay in city shelters to 30 days.) 

While I was there, some people chose to go to respite centers at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens or at JFK, and one person was reticketed to Albany.
Most people waiting in recent days would not be able to be processed. They will most likely return to Bathgate, in the Bronx, where asylum seekers can sleep on the floor indoors before trying their luck again another day. 

On Monday, there was a heavy NYPD presence with barricades erected to help manage the crowd. Staff from the Office of Emergency Management handed out mylar blankets. The site had prepackaged sandwiches and bottles of water inside, plus what looked like cans of tuna and some snacks.
A few local businesses have reached out about doing a distribution. However, working with the city is exceedingly difficult. I can't stress that enough.
Some asylum seekers were spotted sleeping in Tompkins Square Park and nearby curbside dining structures as temps hovered in the high 20s Monday night.


VH McKenzie said...

As a local in the EV, what can we do to help? Do they need hats/gloves/coats? I know what they really need is shelter but how else can we assist?

Jose Garcia said...

How was it possible to feed every hungry New Yorker three meals a day during the pandemic with presumably more people needing services while now when arguably there are fewer people in need of food and the city seemingly can't offer a scrap of food to these desperately needy people? One wonders if it's because these people tend be darker and poorer and "less like us."

Babs said...

At 9:30pm last night there were probably 35-50 people still outside St Brigid. Some were already huddled down in sleep mode. Was it really necessary to eject them from shelter on a night when the temps dropped to 27 degrees? My boyfriend and I picked up some supplies from the pharmacy to give out, but it was wholly inadequate. Still, a tiny offering is better than nothing. Agree with Jose Garcia at 9:51.

translation workshop said...

This is shameful. Shame on Mayor Adams and the City of New York. I can't believe how little generosity, help or warmth this wealthy city now has to offer to people who have suffered so much. Are French speakers needed again there?

translation workshop said...

Contact Mayor Adams here:

Tell him this is unconscionable.

Matthew W. Daloisio said...

I live in the neighborhood (kids went to St. Brigid’s before it closed). I was surprised to see so many folks sleeping outside and empty school (and church) last night in the frigid cold.

I gathered some folks to buy blankets and hand warmers to distribute last night — and would be happy to work with others to keep doing this.

It’s shameful that the Adams administration & the Archdiocese of New York are failing to provide aid and shelter. It’s up to us to organize & provide some mutual aid.

Lewie Briggs said...

Also live in the neighborhood, there were about 15-20 people outside the school tonight. Seems like this will keep happening for the time being. My partner and I brought hot water bottles, pizza and some blankets but was not enough for everyone. We would be interested in coordinating mutual aid

FC said...

The City now leases St. Brigid’s School, so the church cannot open up the school to the asylum seekers. It is up to the City to do that.