Nonprofits step up to help newly arrived asylum seekers in Westchester
A group of six nonprofit organizations have developed a long-term response plan to help the current group of migrants bused to Yonkers last week as well as any others who might arrive in the future.
Feeding Westchester is among them preparing to offer food assistance at a moment's notice.
"We're here for the long haul. Providing support to our neighbors in need," said Andre Thompson, Feeding Westchester's Vice President of Impact Programming.
But it won't be easy. Feeding Westchester was feeding 130,000 people per month on average before COVID-19 began and that has nearly doubled since March when the federal SNAP was reduced.
Now, at almost capacity, the nonprofit is finding a way to welcome new faces.
"We're seeing just a higher level of need and then with this new emerging situation with asylum seekers and migrants we expect the need to be that much more drastic," said Thompson.
Other organizations are already on the scene assisting the 40 families at the Ramada Inn in Yonkers.
Neighbors Link is collecting Target, Amazon, Visa/Mastercard, and Uber/Lyft gift cards to help pay for personal items and travel expenses.
Westhab is working with the New York City Department of Homeless Services to ensure all basic needs are met including that three meals are provided each day.
Sun River Health is placing a mobile truck on site to provide medical assessments as needed.
"We expect however that this is a short-term solution and that the need that these families will have will be mid-to-long term," said Thompson.
United Way of Westchester & Putnam, the Childcare Council, and Westchester COAD are also part of the response.
The Ramada Inn is currently the only site in Westchester housing asylum seekers from the border sent to the northern suburbs from New York City but that could change at any moment.
On Monday, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said any future agreements to house migrants will be between hotel owners and Mayor Eric Adams.
"The Adams administration has reached out to different hotels and motels around the area," said George Latimer, Westchester County Executive.
County and local officials would then meet to discuss how to safely manage any future groups of migrant arrivals after a deal is struck, according to Latimer.