The freezing temperatures have arrived in New York, coinciding with the eviction of hundreds of asylum seekers from shelters in the city. These individuals are now waiting for placement while enduring the harsh weather conditions.
Bourchelvy, a 28-year-old migrant from the Congo, stood outside the East Village processing center for asylum seekers at 4 p.m. on Monday.
He remarked that it was extremely cold.
Bourchelvy faced eviction from his homeless shelter due to the mayor’s recent decree, which mandated that residents could only stay for a maximum of 30 days. In order to secure a spot in the queue for relocation to a different shelter, he was assigned a unique number.
Bourchelvy expressed uncertainty about having a destination to go to, stating, “I don’t know … if I have anywhere to go.”
According to City Hall, single adults typically wait around five days to be placed.
In Tompkins Square Park, asylum seekers, bundled up in multiple layers of clothing, are attempting to pass the time. One man mentioned that he is likely to spend the night on the streets.
In Spanish, he expressed his uncertainty, stating, “I don’t have a phone, and I’m unfamiliar with the city. I don’t know where to go.”
On a Code Blue night, like Monday, when the temperature drops below freezing, the city has an obligation to offer shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness who are in need of a place to sleep.
In the Bronx, we encountered a multitude of asylum seekers forming a line along 3rd Avenue at 7 p.m. These individuals, both men and women, find themselves in a state of uncertainty, waiting outside the city’s designated area for migrants who are awaiting relocation to a new shelter.
Jennifer, a 46-year-old asthmatic migrant from Venezuela, expressed her dissatisfaction with the waiting room, describing it as terrible. She also mentioned the challenges she faces, such as being unable to bathe and the issue of frozen food.
She told us about her experience of sleeping on the floor in the Bronx for the past five nights. Every morning, she goes to the East Village to see if it’s her turn in line. Afterwards, she returns here and waits for the doors to open at 8 p.m.
According to a spokesperson from City Hall, if the Code Blue remains in effect by morning, asylum seekers will be given permission to stay in the waiting room past 6 a.m.