Faith leaders ask NYC to contract faith-based organizations to help with migrant crisis
More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City in the past year. The city says its resources are maxed out. Some say it may take divine intervention to solve this crisis.
“One of our enduring values is that we welcome the stranger, that we see what’s sacred in each other and respond with compassion to our neighbors who are vulnerable,” Bishop Matthew Heyd told News 12 New York.
Heyd is one of the leaders asking the city to consider contracts with some of the thousands of local faith-based organizations. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is also involved in the push. She says the organizations would contract with the city at a rate of $74 a night.
“Housing someone in a hotel, which is what the city is mostly doing, costs over $300 a night. You add that up, if we were to move folks to faith-based institutions, the city would save $543 million at least,” she said. Organizers tell News 12 New York that one hurdle has been getting the historical buildings up to New York City fire code, as some don’t have sprinklers. City Hall told News 12 in a statement:
“We are working to bring more interested houses of worship into full FDNY and DOB compliance as the safety of asylum seekers is always our top priority.”
Quinn says there’s a simple solution.
“The answer to the lack of sprinklers is to have a fire warden be on the floor. Someone who’s constantly watching to see what’s going on,” she said.
The program has been rolled out to about 50 faith-based organizations so far with 15 beds each. Leaders are asking the city to increase that number to 5,000 migrants. “Our faith communities are safe and comfortable places, and we think that we can extend that to our newest New Yorkers. People fleeing danger from wherever they are from,” Heyd added.
Houses of worship that are interested in housing migrants can apply online at the New York Disaster Interfaith Services website.