NYC public school gyms to house migrants

More and more residents across New York City are learning that temporary shelters for migrants are opening in their neighborhoods, and they’re not happy about it. 

In Williamsburg, parents are planning a rally Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. in front of P.S. 17 to protest the school's gym being turned into a temporary shelter for migrants. 

"I don’t mind giving a helping hand," said Linda Perez, a former Special Education teacher. "But when it interferes with the education of our students, yes I do care. Every 72 hours A new bus is going to arrive here and this is going to be surrounded by migrants."

Parents say they were given no advance notice of how many migrants are coming and who they are. Not only that, but the school's recently renovated gym with new basketball is now off-limits again, and the kids will effectively be under a lockdown during recess. 

Now, parents are aiming their anger at Mayor Eric Adams. 

"The mayor really needs to look into the law, and what’s permissible and not use schools, a place of education," Perez said.

"It doesn’t have to be in the public schools," said Tonya Trossi, an M.S. 577 parent. "They can put them somewhere else."

The schools are just a few of 150 temporary shelters in the city, not counting the six locations recently designated temporary migrant shelters by the city, which includes the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown, a hotel in Yonkers, two hotels in Rockland County, and two schools in Staten Island. 


NYC hotels converted to shelters amid pressure to accommodate asylum seekers

Around Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City, hotels that served tourists just a few years ago have become de facto emergency shelters.

More than 4,000 migrants arrived in the city last week.

Parents at P.S. 17 say they are primarily concerned that the gate to the school's gym has to be left open so that migrants can come and go freely, with the school just feet away. 

"There’s no safety," said Virginia Vu, a P.S. 17 PTA mom. "They’re giving us one safety officer. Just one. We only have two for a school of 700 kids."

The Mayor's office responded, saying:

"…we are out of space. As the mayor has said, nothing is off the table as we work to fill our moral mandate m, but we should all expect this crisis to affect every city service."

"That’s not fair, and it only happens in low-income communities, where our children are failing and not empowered in any way," said Perez. "Makes me angry."

The Mayor's Office says it now has opened 150 emergency sites, including eight large-scale humanitarian relief centers to serve more than 65,000 asylum-seekers, and the city will continue to receive hundreds of asylum-seekers every day.