Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update August 4th, 2023

Migrant Crisis

As the migrant crisis escalates - primarily asylum-seekers  from the southern border states - the City is struggling to accommodate the large number of migrants. Mayor Adams recently announced that single-adult migrants will be limited to 60-day stays in shelters, but they still remain overcrowded. Following this rule, nearly 600 migrants were removed from shelters in the past week. Many migrants have been forced to wait outside for placement, with some being offered accommodations outside of NYC in upstate New York. 

The number of migrants being booted from the city’s overwhelmed shelter system under its controversial 60-day rule has ballooned from 100 to up to 600. Photo by Robert Mecea

Mayor Adams is exploring the idea of using tents in Central Park and other public green spaces to shelter migrants, as the city faces an escalating migrant crisis and a shortage of available space in existing homeless shelters and emergency housing. 

To combat the migrant crisis, NYDIS’ Emergency Shelter Network, in partnership with NYC, will fund 50 shelters in houses of worship or faith-based spaces, of any faith tradition, to operate 19 bed shelters for single adult men over the next 12-24 months. Shelters must be open 365 days per year from 7PM to 7AM. NYDIS is looking specifically for  houses of worship that are “shovel ready” with showers and fire sprinkler systems in place. 

Complete the questionnaire below if your house of faith is interested:



Adapting Houses of Faith

Across the country, many cities are facing the same challenge of vacant or underused churches. The Episcopal Dioceses of Indianapolis and Northern Indiana launched an initiative called "Church Buildings for Collaborative Partnerships" to explore the reuse and redevelopment of these properties and engage the larger community. Bricks and Mortals is working with this initiative to bring Venuely, our mission-driven space sharing website for houses of faith, to Episcopal congregations throughout the state.

Facing a decline in attendance, the Crossroads United Methodist Church in Compton aims to expand its ministry by building affordable housing with 65 apartments. The project plans on including worship and community spaces with four stories of affordable housing above. 

At St. Paul and St. Andrew Church, immigrants and asylum seekers are receiving assistance from community organizations, including Jewish and Muslim congregations, with the line of those in need stretching down the block. Though they face their own challenges such as leaky roofs and air conditioning trouble, the church provides access to food and sanitation, tutoring services, ESL, hosts the West Side Campaign Against Hunger - and the list goes on. To get inspired, visit: 

The plan to breathe new life into St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church in Jersey City, New Jersey, which includes a mixed-use development with market-rate residential, commercial, and garage space. Across the street, supportive housing and a shelter is being built on another church-owned parcel. Rendering courtesy Michael Graves Architecture.

Affordable Housing 

New York City rents remain at record highs, evictions are rising and the number of people in city-run homeless shelters has roughly doubled over the past 18 months, but new affordable housing developments are cropping up across NYC and the state. 

However, at an event yesterday, Mayor Adams announced that over 26,000 affordable homes were produced this year– a 22% increase over the prior year. Mayor Adams is also hiring a new head of housing for NYC to address the housing crisis.


While houses of worship are being repurposed into affordable housing, state and city governments are working to fund new projects. The state is investing $406 million to build 800 units of affordable housing in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Suffolk and Westchester counties. This investment is separate from the $650 million in discretionary funding from the state budget, aimed at supporting "pro-housing" communities to spur development.

Looking to preserve your space through a variety of creative strategies?