Staten Island judge ruled Tuesday that an old Staten Island school, which had been used to house hundreds of migrants, should be demolished.
Staten Island Supreme Court judge Wayne Ozzi made his ruling after hundreds of protesters took to the streets a month ago to protest the city’s decision to house migrants at the St. John Villa Academy site. They cited safety issues as the building is located near other schools.
Vito Fossella, Staten Island Borough President (one of the Republican legislators that filed the lawsuit against New York City), said in a press statement: “It is refreshing to know that there are jurists in our system who understand the concerns we have about migrant housing being placed within residential areas. ”
He said, “This is a victory for the residents of Arrochar and Staten Islanders in general.” “We felt that the City had acted in an inappropriate manner by placing a center for migrants directly across from the school Pre-K-12 and in the middle Arrochar, a low-density residential area.”
According to a copy of Ozzi’s ruling, “If there were a right to shelter embedded in the State Constitution, then all counties and municipalities within upstate New York will be required to offer shelter to any and all asylum-seekers who are migrants.
The article continues: “They haven’t,” it states. A right to shelter would apply statewide, not just in New York City.
The station reports that Republican legislators from Staten Island including Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, (R-NY), had sued New York City before the ruling was handed down on Tuesday. They asked for the school to not be used as a homeless shelter. The judge responded by issuing a temporary injunction, which prohibited the city from using that school as a homeless shelter.
The City won its appeal. It is unclear if this decision will be appealed. Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City was contacted for comment.
The ruling on Tuesday stated that the shelter can house “up to 300 asylum seekers”.
Adams’ office released a statement a few months ago in response to community backlash. The statement said: “We chose the vacant St. John Villa Academy to be one of our respite sites for single women and adult families. “We are aware of community concerns and want to assure them that we will make every effort to manage the site well.
WABC reported in 2018 that the city purchased the academy after it closed. Officials moved ahead with plans to relocate hundreds of migrants despite promises to convert the location back into a school.
Malliotakis sent a tweet to Adams on X, formerly Twitter: “ACCEPT that this shelter violated the law and give Staten Island students the 1,000-seat school they deserve.”