Jewish Family Services plans new partnership with NYC to settle asylum seekers


Watch the conference in the video player above.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — More efforts are being made to aid asylum seekers in Erie County.

On Wednesday morning, Jewish Family Services is planning to announce a partnership with New York City to manage a coordinated entry program for people fleeing their native country.

Jewish Family Services intends to enter into a $22.4 million contract with New York City, a city whose mayor, Eric Adams, has been a controversial figure in the effort to house migrants, with the city appearing to have taken on more than it can handle.

It was this past June when dozens of asylum seekers came from New York’s biggest city to Cheektowaga, with hundreds more arriving later in Erie County. Some local leaders, including County Executive Mark Poloncarz, embraced them with open arms.

But the arrival of these migrants was met with controversy, with a number of other local leaders critiquing the decision to bring asylum seekers here, especially in light of arrests that took place over the summer.

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New York State has pointed fingers at NYC’s handling of the crisis. This past August, legal counsel representing Gov. Kathy Hochul, essentially, said that the city could have done better, citing the help Adams has received from New York State and the strain the city has put on state resources.

“The City has not made timely requests for regulatory changes, has not always promptly shared necessary information with the State, has not implemented programs in a timely manner, and has not consulted the State before taking certain actions,” an excerpt from the counsel’s letter to NYC’s 81st Corporation Counsel reads.

And at the federal level, there have been bipartisan calls for action.

NY-23 Congressman and former New York Republican State Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy said “This crisis is a result of President Biden’s dangerous open border policies and the sanctuary state policies of Albany Democrats.”

Hochul, the most powerful voice in New York State, previously said it was “past time” for President Joe Biden to take action on the situation.

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“The reality is, we’ve managed thus far without substantive support from Washington, despite the fact that this is a nation and inherently a federal issue,” Hochul said in August, after DocGo said 100,000 migrants had come to NYC.

It’s been months since any new asylum seekers have been sent to the Buffalo area by New York City.

More details on Jewish Family Services’ new contract with New York City, including efforts to get migrants out of hotels and into more permanent housing, are expected during a conference at Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo at 11 a.m.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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