NEW YORK (September 30, 2022) – On Wednesday, September 28th, Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez, in partnership with Woodhull Hospital, held a resource fair for new asylum seekers in response to a lack of supportive services provided by the City to many of the migrants. The resource fair included over 30 community organizations and City agencies, and multiple elected representatives’ offices.
The organizations and agencies in attendance offered informational and supportive services including education, employment, benefits, healthcare, mental health, housing, and food assistance. The event was also supported by the offices of congresswoman Nydia Velaquez, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, State Senator Julia Salazar, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Council Member Gutiérrez has been working with and supporting individuals at the emergency shelter in District 34 for over two months since it opened. Council Member Gutiérrez has been in communication with DHS and Acacia, the shelter provider, about the lack of social services and respect for the new migrants, and has been fighting for better conditions. Some asylum seekers reported that staff had refused or were unable to communicate in Spanish or assist in enrolling them for services. The motel where the migrants are located is not built for long-term stays, with large families living indefinitely in rooms designed for one person, with no access to in-room fridges, or the ability to cook their own meals. Many women reported that they were not given information on emergency WIC, or provided with diapers, baby clothes, strollers, or age-appropriate food. To date, there are still serious staffing and safety concerns at this shelter.
While the Council Member and her office have been assisting many of these individuals one-on-one, it has become clear that the City’s gap in service provision necessitated a much larger, coordinated effort to directly connect individuals with services and opportunities to integrate into the community. Over 300 asylum seekers attended the event.