Updated: Jun. 06, 2023, 7:41 p.m. | Published: Jun. 06, 2023, 6:26 p.m.

By Paul Liotta | pliotta@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Mayor Eric Adams stood by Monday as a local non-profit leader said during a press briefing that two Staten Island churches would soon house migrants, but on Tuesday, Republican elected officials disputed those comments.

Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) tweeted a statement calling the Advance/SILive.com’s report on those statements inaccurate, citing unnamed city officials.

Reilly’s post, however, did not note the remarks came from Rev. Terry Troia, the head of local non-profit organization Project Hospitality, at a city announcement about a new program using houses of worship to shelter asylum seekers in the five boroughs.

“For the last 40 years, Project Hospitality, an interfaith effort on Staten Island, has coordinated faith-based shelters for people in need for homeless people on the streets. Forty years. Even through the pandemic, we were the only houses of worship in the city of New York that stayed open every night to provide for people in need, despite the risk to the volunteers that may have been exposed to COVID in those nights,” Troia said.

“It’s that work that brings us to today to say that we have at least two houses of worship on Staten Island who have stepped forward, and they will be opening up their doors to people in need who have come to this country seeking refuge.”

Those words, said while the city’s chief executive looked on, apparently contradict with the understanding of Reilly’s unnamed officials.

The assemblyman said his conversations with the officials confirmed the city’s initiative to shelter migrants in houses of worship, but that no sites had yet to be selected in the application-based process, which has seen no application received from Staten Island institutions.

“I understand the complexity of this situation, as do many of the constituents I speak with daily, but these decisions must be made in good faith by city officials,” Reilly said. “That means bringing all relevant stakeholders together to discuss the impact that these decisions may have on a community’s security and other vital services. And that’s only possible if we maintain an open line of communication with government leaders working across the aisle, to mitigate impact and find solutions.”

A City Hall spokesperson confirmed the process is currently in its application phase, but Troia said Tuesday that there are two churches that hope to be part of the program

“The churches are not hosting asylum seekers through this program now. This program is new and the announcement that it is starting was the reason for the press conference,” she said “There are two SI churches who want to do the shelter for asylum seekers. But they are not sheltering them now because the program hasn’t started. It will be a while before the churches are ready.”

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) and City Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore) retweeted Reilly’s message.

Troia, who did not identify the churches set to be involved in the program, has been part of a similar effort that houses homeless New Yorkers in houses of worship around the five boroughs, including several around Staten Island.

Adams described the new program as an opportunity born out of the migrant crisis that has seen more than 70,000 asylum seekers come to the five boroughs, mostly from the southern border.

As of Monday, more than 46,000 remain in the city’s care, leading to the creation of emergency hotel shelters around the five boroughs, nine humanitarian emergency relief centers, and an unknown number of emergency respite centers at city-owned properties like the former Hungerford School site on Tompkins Avenue.

With four buses worth of new arrivals over the weekend, city officials don’t see an end to the migrant crisis in the immediate future, and Adams expects the issue to cost the city more than $4.3 billion by July of next year.

The mayor made his latest call Monday for more action from the federal government in the form of funding, a more coherent immigration strategy, and more efficient work authorization for the new arrivals. However, Adams said he hasn’t spoken directly with President Joseph Biden about the issue since earlier this year.