Fifty houses of worship across New York City will open their doors to shelter migrants amidst the ongoing crisis, Mayor Adams announced on Monday, June 5th. This two-year initiative, a partnership with the New York Disaster Interfaith Services, aims to house up to 19 single adult men at each site, estimating a total of 1,000 migrants accommodated by August.
Mayor Adams revealed this faith-based shelter program at the City Hall rotunda, surrounded by an assembly of the city’s faith leaders. This initiative, he suggested, might be followed by another phase involving private residents providing accommodations for migrants in their own homes.
“This is an opportunity built on a crisis,” Adams said. “We were in the process for months of sitting down with our faith leaders trying to navigate many of the complexities that are associated with how to use spaces as a place for respite centers and places that people can sleep, and at the same time maintain the worshiping services.”
Under this plan, the city will compensate participating worship sites $65 each night for each migrant accommodated. Additionally, the city plans to open five-day centers to provide legal services and other essentials to migrants.
The costs of this initiative total about $125 per migrant per night when factoring in other services like laundry and security, said Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy. While the city currently spends approximately $380 daily per migrant, the faith-based initiative is seen as a more cost-effective method.
In a city grappling with an intense migrant crisis and struggling to accommodate over 45,000 asylum seekers in 157 emergency sites dispersed across the five boroughs, this initiative is expected to ease some pressure. Furthermore, the city hopes to foster better opportunities and hope for the migrants through this humanitarian effort.
“As we continue to address this humanitarian crisis, I’m proud of our new partnership with the New York Disaster Interfaith Services,” Mayor Eric Adams praised the initiative. He emphasized that the initiative aims to serve as a bridge connecting asylum seekers with local communities.
In addition to this faith-based program, the Federal Aviation Authority has authorized the city to repurpose an old postal warehouse near JFK Airport for housing migrants. Last week, 500 cots and trailers equipped with restrooms and showers were installed at JFK’s Building 197 warehouse in anticipation of housing up to 1,000 asylum seekers.