New York City drops its offer to house immigrants at former Staten Island school
The Adams administration has dropped a controversial plan to house immigrants at a former Catholic school on Staten Island.
The administration is abandoning its fight to use the former St. John Villa Academy to house immigrants, city attorneys announced in court Thursday, a month after the FDNY declared the building a fire risk and temporarily closed an asylum-seeker shelter that opened in August. Sources told The Washington Post that the matter angered local residents.
“We are pleased that the curtains have finally been closed, and will remain closed, at the St. John Villa migrant shelter,” said town mayor Vito Fossella. “As a result of our legal efforts,…the city has stipulated that it will not use the site as a migrant shelter again.
“This is the final nail in the coffin of the villa shelter.”
Fossella and a slew of other Republican lawmakers — including Councilmembers Joseph Borrelli and David Carr — joined longtime Staten Island homeowner Scott Kirkert in filing a lawsuit against the city in August to prevent about 300 immigrants from moving into the shuttered school — claiming the operation Outdoor bathrooms powered by generators 24 hours a day would be a “nuisance.”
Staten Island Superior Court Judge Wayne Ozzie issued a preliminary injunction on September 26 ordering the city to stop using the site — while criticizing the Big Apple’s “right to shelter” law as a “relic of the past.”
About 200 asylum seekers were then packed onto buses and taken to the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, leading to celebration from Staten Island residents who had staged protests for weeks over the use of the facility.
The Adams administration had notified the court that it intended to appeal the decision, but then the FDNY declared the building a danger. On Thursday, the judge accepted the administration’s request to dismiss the lawsuit because it no longer plans to use the site to house migrants.
The Staten Island Advance first reported that the city had dropped the school plan.