New York City is considering converting unused office spaces into affordable housing, mayor Eric Adams has said in an interview with RTVI. He confirmed that the city was struggling to deal with the rapid influx of migrants over the past year.
“Many people are still working from home post-pandemic and these vacant empty office spaces could be used to address our city’s affordable housing crisis,” Adams explained.
According to the mayor, authorities plan to convert almost “90 million square meters of empty real estate” to provide housing for migrants while the city waits for more funds from the White House to address this “national scale” issue.
“The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has given New York a depressingly small amount of money so far. We have the vast majority of migrants and asylum seekers coming to our city, and we need to get the resources we need to address this problem,” he said.
The mayor also specifically mentioned the influx of Ukrainian refugees to the city, claiming that of the nearly 250,000 that have come to the US since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, 13%, or more than 32,000 people, are trying to settle in New York City. He added that Ukrainian migrants often try to settle in the Brooklyn area where there are a lot of Ukrainian and Russian-speaking communities.
“Already now, there are many Ukrainian refugees in New York who are actively participating in the city’s economy… New York already has a rich Ukrainian community, and we are going to continue to help it develop and expand. Our administration has allocated a significant amount to some local agencies and organizations so that they can help Ukrainian refugees truly assimilate into local society,” Adams told RTVI.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, NYC authorities also announced that churches, mosques and synagogues across the city would start doubling as migrant shelters starting from July, with each location expected to house some 19 adult men overnight for two years. The establishments will be reimbursed $125 per night per migrant by the city’s taxpayers, Adams said.
The mayor also called for using all of the “108 thousand cities, towns and villages in America” to solve the humanitarian crisis and said he does not blame the migrants searching for the “American Dream” but those who fail to provide the proper conditions.