Report: NYS set aside $25M to resettle qualified migrants but no one has been resettled

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An investigation by New York Focus, an independent news organization in New York City, found not one person or family seeking asylum in the U.S. has been resettled by New York State.

And so they stay in the shelters, like the Holiday Inn in downtown Rochester.

Brean: “What’s the number one takeaway from your story and what you found?”
Andrew Giambrone, freelance reporter, NY Focus: “It’s that so far, after New York State launched this resettlement program for families entering New York City’s shelter system this past spring, no families have been able to relocate.”

Andrew Giambrone is a freelance reporter in New York City. His story appeared in New York Focus.

Giambrone’s two-week investigation started when he read an Aug. 12 news release from the governor’s office that included the $25 million program to resettle more than 4,000 migrants who applied for asylum.

The program is called the Migrant Relocation Assistance Program or MRAP.

The release said “at this time, 17 families who are willing to participate and eligible to participate have been identified by the City.”

What stood out to Giambrone was the “17 families.”

One hundred thousand (100,000) migrants have arrived in New York State in the past year.

Brean: “And not one family, not one person has been resettled?”
Giambrone: “To my knowledge to date, no family has been resettled.”

In a email from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, spokesman Anthony Farmer wrote “this program was specifically designed to relocate families and get them on a path toward independence through work. Families will soon begin to be resettled through the program and it is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks and months.”

Giambrone’s story pointed out a few reasons why zero migrants have been resettled.

They include: the process is brand-new and complicated and it’s voluntary, and the state says many families have declined to participate.

Brean: “So what? What’s the impact?”
Giambrone: “I think one impact, I think, is that families are going to be lingering or even languishing in shelters in New York City.”

New York City and New York State have budgeted more than $1 billion to care for migrant families.

A week before Giambrone’s report in New York Focus, Governor Kathy Hochul wrote a letter to President Biden asking the federal government to speed up the process to let qualified migrants in the asylum process work. Watch the governor’s address here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul: “I’m ordering the Department of Labor to proactively connect asylum seekers with potential employers in anticipation of them receiving the work authorization before they’re already authorized. So let’s just start focusing on that crisis as well.”

Read the governor’s letter here:

While the state operates MRAP, New York City is responsible for screening potential applicants.

The state says MRAP was set up to help families get a stable place to live and get “wrap-around” services as long as someone in the family applied for asylum so that they could get permission to work.

The state said, as of today, 189 eligible households have identified a participating county they want to move to and some families are in the early stages of being relocated outside New York City.