Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update July 28th, 2023

Migrant crisis 

As the number of refugees coming into NYC, officials are working toward a solution. 

Mayor Eric Adams has announced a new policy that gives single adults in emergency shelters two months to find housing before being removed. Local lawmakers, immigration, and housing advocates are pushing back, arguing that finding housing within 60 days is challenging for low-income residents, and they urge the city to address housing discrimination, expand access to housing vouchers, and seek federal funding to support the situation.

Migrant removals from shelters are already underway. City sanitation workers and the NYPD dismantled a makeshift encampment for about 15 newly arrived migrants living under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn. The men were living in tents but were asked to leave a nearby shelter, leading them to set up the encampment. The city’s shelter population has exceeded 100,000, including more than 53,000 migrants who have arrived since the spring of last year.

Migrants kicked out of a nearby shelter for asylum seekers created a makeshift encampment under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. City sanitation workers and the NYPD dismantled the encampment Friday morning. Photo by Arun Venugopal / Gothamist

To relieve the large influx of migrants Mayor Adams is looking at Aqueduct Racetrack and Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens as emergency tent cities. 

Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, criticized continued use of emergency shelters, stating that permanent housing is needed. 

“New Yorkers need more permanent housing, not more temporary shelters and HERRCs.” Awawdeh said in a statement.

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.

We are looking specifically for  houses of worship that are “shovel ready” with showers and fire sprinkler systems in place.  



Houses of Faith Securing Their Properties

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) awarded $51 million to 497 organizations through the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program. $8 million will be going toward cybersecurity projects. 

The Grant program was created in 2017 and used funding to strengthen security measures and prevent hate crimes against nonprofit community and civic centers, cultural museums, day care centers, and other nonprofit organizations - many of which are at risk due to their ideology or beliefs. The funds can be used to strengthen the physical security of the buildings, strengthen cybersecurity, or cover security training. 

“New York’s most at-risk organizations will be able to invest in the security measures they need to stay safe. In the face of disgusting vitriol and violence, I want to be clear: we are not afraid.” said Governor Hochul.

The next round of grant funding is expected to be made available through a request for applications in December 2023.

Affordable Housing Crisis 

Governor Hochul unveiled a series of executive actions aimed at addressing the housing crisis in New York. The initiatives include a financial incentive for developers in the Gowanus area to create affordable housing, as well as over $650 million in state discretionary funds to support "Pro-Housing Community Programs." The governor's announcement comes after the end of a legislative session, and she stressed the need for a comprehensive solution to tackle the housing shortage in the state. 

One affordable housing project that is combating the crisis, True Bethel Commons, has now been completed. This project involved adaptive reuse of the historic Sacred Heart school, rectory, and convent buildings. It provides 39 affordable apartments for households earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income, with several units fully accessible for people with physical needs. 

The development preserved the historical character of the buildings and met green building standards, offering energy-efficient amenities and various community facilities. Funding came from federal and state tax credits, grants, and partnerships between public and private entities. The project contributes to New York State's efforts to utilize historic tax credits for revitalization and economic growth.

True Bethel Commons affordable housing project has been completed in Niagara Falls, NY. Photo from Belmont Housing Resources. 

Houses of Worship Go Green 

The U.S. government is providing billions of dollars in tax credits and grants to churches and nonprofits to promote energy efficiency. The funding is part of various acts, including the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, and aims to help faith organizations become climate leaders in their communities while fostering collaboration among local governments and nonprofits. The Department of Energy offers multiple programs to incentivize clean energy projects and support communities historically underserved by federal funding.

Last year, Bricks and Mortals held a series of events on NYC’s new environmental laws, which bring new energy efficiency regulations and requirements for buildings in New York City, including houses of worship: What LL97 Means for Houses of Worship and Bringing Your House of Worship Into Compliance. Our resource on Local Law 97 also walks you through LL97 and what that means for houses of worship.  

Solar panels were installed on the roof of Faith Community Church in Greensboro, N.C., in May 2015. Photo from NC WARN.

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