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Brooklyn Dem Chair: Let’s spread migrant housing equitably in all neighborhoods

September 27, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn, like all of New York City, is affected by our humanitarian crisis of the influx of migrants in New York, and the Brooklyn Democratic Party has received extensive feedback from the 1.4 million-plus Democrats it represents across the borough.

The Brooklyn Democratic Party is consistently communicating with leaders at all levels of government, including exploring the possibility of equitably spreading out access to migrant housing across Brooklyn from Fort Hamilton to Brooklyn Heights and beyond.

It is clear that vast existing inequities of shelter placements serving homeless New Yorkers are being exacerbated by new emergency shelters opening up in communities that are all too familiar with disproportionately shouldering the responsibility of helping those in need, according to Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.

Many people in Brooklyn are calling on neighborhoods without shelters, such as Bay Ridge, the Fort Hamilton Army Base, Brooklyn Heights and Marine Park, to open their communities to house migrants.

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“While everyone deserves fair, equitable, and humane housing, this is a national, unprecedented crisis; requiring federal aid and collaboration at all levels,” said Bichotte Hermelyn.

Bichotte Hermelyn, a daughter of Haitian Immigrants, added that she has been ardently advocating for federal aid with citywide elected officials while defending Mayor Eric Adams’ approach to the crisis:

The Brooklyn Democratic Party has welcomed the Biden Administration’s recent actions to offer nearly 500,000 Venezuelan asylum seekers temporary shelter and work permits, Yet, this still leaves three-quarters of NYC’s 60,000 migrants under care unable to legally work and support themselves, according to a statement by the party leadership.

The influx exacerbates New York’s existing housing crisis, with nearly 70,000 homeless children and adults already living in shelters citywide as of January 2023. Additionally, data shows the higher the poverty rate is in an NYC neighborhood, the greater the number of homeless shelters it contains

For instance, Brooklyn’s Community District 16, representing part of Bedford-Stuyvesant, has a poverty rate of 33 percent. It also has 23 shelters, the most of any community board in the entire city.

Furthermore, Bichotte Hermelyn points out that 17 of the 20 community districts with the heaviest shelter burden are at least 75 percent minority.

Meanwhile, six of seven community districts that currently host zero shelter beds (Tottenville and South Beach in Staten Island, Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and Forest Hills, Queens) have lower poverty rates.

“With dwindling resources being rapidly depleted, the Brooklyn Democratic Party recognizes that this situation is unsustainable without our entire borough banding together and helping together; as we have to overcome the pandemic and other crises,” Bichotte Hermelyn added. “Let’s spread the love the Brooklyn way.”

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