NYC migrant crisis: Are more shelters planned for Staten Island? Who’s staying at St. John Villa?

By Tracey Porpora


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Amid ongoing protests against a migrant shelter opened last week in the former St. John Villa Academy in Arrochar, rumors have spread that there is a list of 3,000 more such facilities identified across the city — which City Hall says is entirely false.

According to officials, that figure represents the overall number of locations across the five boroughs the city looked at to house migrants, not the number of identified, upcoming or in-service facilities. Of those 3,000 locations, a majority were deemed unsuitable, according to sources with knowledge of the process.

While Fort Wadsworth has been identified by the city as a potential migrant shelter, that location would require federal government approval to open, which hasn’t been given, City Hall officials said.

Two buses filled with about 50 migrants arrived at the shelter on Friday. About half of the migrants who arrived at the shelter requested to leave, citing safety concerns related to the ongoing protests, sources said.

Tensions among the groups have prompted the NYPD to beef up the police presence around the St. John Villa Academy building and block off the location with metal barriers. In addition, cameras were installed nearby the former school on Wednesday in an effort to step up security at the location.

After a tour of the site on Saturday with the city Office of Emergency Management representatives, several Staten Island elected officials requested in a letter the agency, which oversees the site, institute a curfew like those at city homeless shelters operated by Department of Social Services and Department of Homeless Services, said Councilman David Carr (R-Mid-Island). The letter was also signed by other elected officials who represent the area: State Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), Assemblyman Mike Tannousis (R-East Shore), Borough President Vito Fossella and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).


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