Mayor Adams MOIA Open Resource Navigation Center To Help Newly Arrived Individuals And Families Seeking Asylum 

September 15, 2022

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) Commissioner Zach Iscol.

Including New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro today announced the opening of New York City’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center.

The center — operated by Catholic Charities of New York through a city contract — will support individuals and families who have arrived in New York City on or after January 1, 2022.

The center will serve as a central place where newly arrived asylum seekers will receive free and confidential help accessing a variety of important services and resources that will help them integrate and thrive in New York City.  

“Our city continues to welcome the thousands of families who have arrived in New York City in the last few months, but, today, we are announcing a one-stop-shop for those seeking asylum to receive free and confidential help accessing the important services and resources that will help them integrate and thrive in New York City,” said Mayor Adams. “The city and the community-based organizations we’ve partnered with on the ground have been working around the clock to provide assistance to the more than 11,000 individuals who have entered the city in the last few months. The Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center will streamline city and non-profit services into a central place for families to access everything from health care to education to jobs to immigration legal services so that they can build a life in New York City.” 

“Whether it is legal assistance, medical care, school enrollment, or housing support, the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center and the teams there will support people arriving in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Thank you to our government and nonprofit partners for all the work they have done and will continue to do to help all the children, families, and individuals seeking asylum.” 

“These asylum-seekers have been through a grueling journey. It is not only our responsibility as a city to help them adjust and regain their livelihoods, but it is an important investment in the future of New York City. The Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center plays a pivotal role in connecting them to the resources they need to build stable lives in our communities,” said NYCEM Commissioner Zach Iscol. “In New York City, we will continue to support asylum-seekers and ask that our fellow New Yorkers continue to welcome them with open arms just as we have done for generations of immigrants.”  

“Throughout New York City’s history we have welcomed immigrants who in return have made this the greatest city in the world. Today, we continue to honor this legacy by meeting asylum seekers who have gone through an arduous journey with open arms,” said New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Manuel Castro. “This Navigation Center is a key part of our asylum seeker response which looks to connect families and individuals to the resources they need to successfully integrate into our communities and pursue their American Dream.” 

“New York City continues its tradition as a welcoming portal for those fleeing danger in their own countries and seeking protection and opportunity in the United States,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan. “Catholic Charities is proud to once again be at the heart of a welcoming New York, now, serving thousands of those seeking asylum from Venezuela and other countries. We are committed to our newest neighbors, helping them to become contributors to the vibrancy and economy of New York City.”  

“The American Red Cross is pleased that our facility can serve as the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center for people arriving in New York City,” said Mary Barneby, regional CEO, American Red Cross in Greater New York. “While the Red Cross is not offering services for asylum seekers at this time, we know the Red Cross symbol on the side of our building is a universally recognized sign of hope around the globe. We are grateful to the City of New York and to the many partners who will provide assistance via this center”  

The center — located in the American Red Cross of Greater New York headquarters — will open weekdays to provide individuals and families with in-person support, in Spanish and in other languages, as well as information on resources and services available. 

New York City government agencies and community-based organizations will be on-site to help with case management and connect families and individuals to critical services, including: 

  • Health care services directly and through referral, 
  • Health insurance enrollment,  
  • Mental health counseling,  
  • School enrollment, and 
  • Immigration legal services, among other services.  

Services will be available to visitors by appointment. Community-based organizations and city shelter caseworkers will schedule appointments for asylum seekers. The city will provide asylum seekers with information about the Resource Navigation Center as they arrive by bus, as well as in shelters and through community-based organizations. In the following weeks, the city will release information about citywide satellite sites where asylum seekers can access the similar or additional services throughout the five boroughs.   

Since this spring, the city has experienced a surge in people seeking asylum arriving from border states. Many have entered the city’s shelter system, while others have found housing through family members, friends, or sponsors. Additionally, community groups have helped reticket individuals to their final destinations outside of New York City. The city estimates that more than 11,600 asylum seekers have gone through the intake process in the last few months and more than 8,500 asylum seekers, mostly families with children, are currently in the city’s shelter system. 

Services at the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center are free, completely confidential, and provided by trusted professional contractors and city agencies required by law to keep information confidential. To protect client confidentiality, members of the media will not be allowed to enter the facility. 

“As a thriving and diverse city, New York has long been a destination for asylum seekers and other immigrants looking to build a new life in the United States,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler. “ I am very happy that the city, in partnership with Catholic Charities of New York, has opened an Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center.  This center will help ensure that newly arrived asylum seekers are able to access crucial services they need to thrive in our city.  New York City has an extensive history of welcoming immigrants, and I am pleased that this center will help us continue this tradition.” 

“When those seeking asylum arrive in the United States, not only are they and their families contending with the impossible hardships that drove them from their homes and loved ones, but the challenges and difficulties that arise from settling in a new nation. Today, I am so pleased to see our city uphold its moral obligation to aid them. Thank you to Mayor Adams, NYCEM, MOIA, and all others responsible for taking this meaningful step forward in how this country treats its newest Americans,” said U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke. 

“New York City has always been a city of immigrants, ready and willing to support new migrant families and asylum seekers from around the world,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres. “Migrants in New York City deserve an accessible and central center to receive a wide range of critical resources such as health care, legal services, and access to education to properly integrate into our city. I applaud Mayor Adams for this important step by establishing the Resource Navigation Center.” 

“In treating asylum seekers with the dignity they deserve, we live up to the storied history of New York,” said New York State Senator Leroy Comrie. “At its best, in the famous words of Emma Lazarus, it is a history of welcoming ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ I salute Mayor Adams, his team, and all those New Yorkers working to deliver these necessary resources. This Asylum Resource Navigation Center serves as another important chapter in showing the world the spirit that animates our ever multilingual, multicultural, and multifaceted New York communities.” 

“We are a city built by immigrants, committed to the long tradition of the United States in welcoming individuals and families seeking refuge,” said New York State Senator Robert Jackson. “We welcome the city’s opening of the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center as a central place that will support the well-being and dignity of newly arrived asylum seekers while empowering them in their quest to advance their future in our great city. Today, New York City again demonstrates its commitment to upholding the human rights of all people, building a better and more secure future for our fellow immigrant New Yorkers and their families.” 

“Everyone who lands on American soil should be treated with dignity and respect. When I was the Director of Immigration Affairs for New York State, I saw how, with just a bit of guidance, hardworking immigrant families can thrive and make enormous contributions to our city and country,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Indeed, just a 10% increase in the number of refugees has been shown to grow our economy by $1.4 billion. The Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center will provide the guidance immigrant families need to launch. As representative of a district that is 72% immigrants, many of whom came to escape political turmoil in their home countries, I applaud the mayor for bringing together city agencies to establish this resource center.” 

“I welcome the opening of the New York City’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “New York State has proven to be humane and responsive to crises. In the case of the Office of Emergency Management and the efforts made by the office of Mayor Eric Adams and other entities, it is a demonstration of quick action to respond to people in need. I am sure that this center will be of help to people who have suffered a lot, entire families with their children who have come in search of a better life and that we cannot abandon. 

“The Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center will be key to successfully welcoming our newest neighbors, ensuring a single point of entry and connection to city support,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Centralizing services will make navigating the health, education, and legal systems much easier for those seeking asylum. This is an important step towards meeting the urgency of the moment while proudly embracing our values as a sanctuary for those in need.” 

“The inscription on the statue in our harbor reminds us that New York has always opened its doors to immigrants seeking freedom from oppression and violence, it’s critical that we assist asylum seekers as they navigate this difficult transition,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I applaud the mayor for bringing these important resources together to ensure those in greatest need can more easily access the essential resources to thrive in the city we share.” 

“The newly established Asylum Seeker Navigation Center will provide a crucial helping hand to individuals fleeing poverty, instability and religious persecution, so that they may thrive on American soil,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Empowering our migrant communities goes hand in hand with building strong neighborhoods and ensuring public safety. I commend Mayor Eric Adams, NYCEM Commissioner Zach Iscol and MOIA Commissioner Manuel Castro for their leadership in delivering meaningful services to those seeking asylum in New York.” 

“Asylum seekers deserve dignity and respect, and I look forward to helping however possible to ensure that they get the assistance that they deserve in New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “The Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center has the potential to help this vulnerable population, and I’m thankful for Catholic Charities of New York for the invaluable work that they do.”

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