Facing community pushback, NYC mayor reverses plan to house migrants in luxury building


New York City Mayor Eric Adams has done a U-turn on plans to convert an abandoned luxury apartment complex into a shelter for illegal migrants after the community in Harlem opposed the proposal. 

Adams turned up unannounced at a community meeting in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood Thursday where locals were gathering to discuss rumors the building on the corner of 130th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. was quietly being prepared for immigrants, according to CBS News. 

The building was first advertised as luxury housing with a swimming pool, but it has been empty for around a decade after its developers defaulted on loans, the outlet reports. It was built in 2007 and has 35 units, city records show

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has reversed plans to convert an abandoned luxury apartment complex into a shelter for illegal migrants after the community in Harlem opposed the proposal.  (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images and Google Maps)

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It was then leased to a nonprofit that had been working with the city Department of Social Services/Homeless Services to use it as a shelter for either migrants or the city’s native homeless population, the New York Post reports.

Residents saw boxes of bunk beds being loaded into the building. So, when they weren’t getting answers, they convened a meeting. They said they were angry over the lack of communication and about being kept in the dark.

“No, I don’t agree with it turning into a sanctuary for asylum seekers knowing we have people right here that need the space,” said Tiffany Fulton, executive director of Silent Voices United Inc., a local nonprofit that helps underserved communities. 

Central Harlem, where about 44 % of residents are Black, is generally a low-income neighborhood with a 28.4% poverty rate compared to 18.0% citywide, according to the 2020 census. 

Migrants in NYC

Asylum seekers line up in front of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, which was converted into a city-run shelter for newly arrived migrant families in New York City Sept. 27, 2023. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A sign at the meeting said, “Millions on migrants, what about youth programs?” Adams has said the illegal migrant crisis could cost the city as much as $12 billion through 2025. At least 170,000 illegal migrants have arrived in New York since the spring of 2022.

As the meeting took place, Adams turned up and answered questions from residents. 

“You are the mayor. We do not want to hear excuses,” one Harlem resident said.

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But the mayor said that illegal migrants wouldn’t be placed inside the building and that it instead would house local homeless New Yorkers.

“I told the team, ‘Find out what’s going on here,'” Adams said. “We’re not moving folks into a brand new building when you have long-term needs in a community. That’s not going to happen.

“You will not have migrants and asylum seekers in that property.”

Migrants given food in NYC

Single migrant men, mostly from West Africa, congregate in Tompkins Square Park as volunteers give away food and clothing Jan. 27, 2024, in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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The mayor’s office did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment on the matter.

Harlem resident Regina Smith told CBS the neighborhood felt disrespected and that there are already too many homeless shelters in the community.

“We’re being priced out of the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, resident Leslie Johnson said the units should be used instead for affordable housing. 

“These apartments could be used for us to go into,” Johnson told CBS.  




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