Migrant families prepare to leave the Roosevelt Hotel shelter after receiving their 60-day notices, Jan. 16, 2024. Credit: Gwynne Hogan/THE CITY
By Gwynne Hogan | January 17, 2024
Pregnant migrants in their third trimester and women with newborn babies will get a reprieve from shelter evictions until their babies turn six months old, city officials told THE CITY on Tuesday.
Pregnant women and those with infants can submit a doctors’ note to get a temporary pause of their eviction notice, according to Kayla Mamelak, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams.
“We’re always reevaluating, pivoting, and shifting based on the circumstances and needs of migrants in our care,” said Mamelak, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams. said.
The city began evicting families from shelters on Jan. 9, sparking an uproar over the eviction of several pregnant women including Maria Quero, a 24-year-old who was 35 weeks pregnant when she spoke to dozens of reporters last week just after she was removed from her room at the Row Hotel in Midtown.
“That’s really good, thank God,” Quero said in Spanish, after learning of the policy change from a reporter for THE CITY.
Quero noted that she’d been told something very different when she went to the city’s intake center at the Roosevelt Hotel last week to seek another shelter placement:
“They told me these were the last 60 days they could give me, that it was my last opportunity for shelter,” she said.
That message is similar to what Bianca Guzman, a mom of four who is four months pregnant, said she was told when she brought her family to the intake center to seek a new shelter placement after being evicted from the room at the Row they’d been staying in.
“They told us we had a certain number of days and then we don’t have the option of applying again for shelter, we’d have to figure something out on our own,” she said in Spanish.
‘They Kicked Us Out of There, Too’
The city began serving migrant families in shelters with 60-day eviction notices in November, and began removing those families from their rooms on Jan. 9 in a new policy expected to hit about 100 families a day once it’s in full swing.
Until this year, most migrant families with children had been spared the chaotic situation that adults have faced since the city implemented a 30-day limit on their shelter stays last September.
Adults looking for a new placement are directed not to an intake center but rather to an East Village “reticketing site” offering them free trips out of the city.
Hundreds of people, most of them seeking shelter here, have lined up outside of that site each day, even in freezing weather and while contending with limited access to food and running water.
“I’ve spent six days waiting for a new shelter, and I don’t know how long it will be,” said Antony Ponce, 34, in Spanish, while waiting in line to get inside the reticketing site Tuesday morning.
He’d spent one night in an overcrowded indoor waiting room elsewhere trying to rest in a chair, and the other five on the subways or camping on the sidewalk in front of the reticketing site.
Johorman Cordero, 35, said he and a small group of others sleeping outside the reticketing site were kicked out by staffers around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the night of the city’s first snowstorm in more than two years.
“We went to the train and they kicked us out of there too,” he said in Spanish.
To date, migrant families haven’t had the same difficulties following their evictions. Several who’d been ousted from the Row told THE CITY that they’d secured a new placement within a day in hotels in Manhattan not so far from where they’d been.
“Any family with children who has reapplied for shelter has been given that placement,” City Hall spokesperson Mamelak said.
But insiders cautioned it’s still too early to gauge how the 60-day policy will affect families and school communities as the policy scales up and evictions start hitting hundreds of families in shelters all around the city in any given week.
“We were fortunate to have families placed again in Manhattan so that children could continue their studies and they can maintain the relationships they have with staff in schools and friends in schools,” said one person at the Education Department source, who’s not authorized to speak to the press.
“But moving forward, what will happen when there are no more beds in Manhattan?”
This story was published by THE CITY on January 17, 2024.