NEW YORK — New efforts are being made to help migrants coming to New York City, including helping them find jobs.
On Sunday there was a round of applause for more than two dozen asylum seekers at the nonprofit La Colmena on Staten Island.
They can get a work permit 180 days after filing their asylum application, but while they wait, the group completed a 40-hour course required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for anyone working in construction.
A migrant named Giovanni arrived from Venezuela in October with his wife and 2-year-old boy. He said he works in construction there and talked about taking the course through a translator.
“It required a lot of attention, but he’s very grateful to have finished it. He said, ‘I’m ready. I’m just willing to contribute,’” the translator said.
30 people completed the program and for all of them this is one of the first opportunities to go out and find work.
The Masbia relief team, with financial support from real estate investor Leon Goldenberg, donated new OSHA-approved steel-toed work boots.
“I am also a child of Holocaust survivors. My parents came to America in 1949 and they fought just like those people,” Goldenberg said.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is for them to get the equipment they need and we’re just so grateful,” said Yesenia Mata, La Colmena’s chief executive.
This week, the city is opening its fourth humanitarian emergency and support center for single male adults at the Watson Hotel on West 57th Street. 600 rooms are available in the hotel, where the city also offers food, medical care and assistance in getting to their desired destination.
The city will dismantle tents set up on Randall’s Island in October and remove any asylum seekers who were there.
Masbia is ready to help in all five districts.
“We also now have about $50,000 worth of children’s clothing and coats that we are distributing in various locations,” said Alexander Rapaport, managing director of Masbia Relief.
He says it’s about treating people with dignity, no matter where they come from.
New York City’s independent budget office estimates that the city will spend nearly $600 million over a year to provide housing, education and other expenses.