Outrage grows as vets evicted from New York hotels to house migrants
The 20 homeless veterans who were evicted from Orange County hotels this week to make way for a group of migrants are shaken — but soldiering on, a spokeswoman for the group told The Post Saturday.
“We are trying to regain their trust,” said Sharon Toney-Finch, CEO of the Yerik Israel Toney Foundation and herself a disabled veteran. “They are very upset because of how they have been replaced and we are, too.”
Local leaders were quick to condemn the eviction from several hotels in Newburgh and Middletown, which was first revealed by The Post Saturday.
Leaders in the veteran community were quick to denounce the evictions of the former soldiers, many of them struggling with PTSD.
“These veterans served their country, taking an oath to put themselves in harm’s way if need be,” said David R. Riley Sr., American Legion Department of New York commander. “They deserve better. We owe them. Our country, our state, our citizens owe them.”
Other politicians put the blame on Mayor Eric Adams, whose administration bussed the migrants to Orange County beginning on Thursday.
“It is absolutely outrageous that homeless veterans would be displaced to alleviate New York City’s migrant crisis,” said Republican Congressman Mike Lawler, who represents Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties. “That Mayor Eric Adams would choose to endanger the welfare of our veterans speaks volumes to what a debacle this has become.”
Toney-Finch refused to allow The Post to speak to the veterans Saturday but asked for donations such as meals and hygiene products that can be dropped off at the offices of State Assemblyman Brian Maher.
“They are doing well,” she said.
“They are out eating together with my volunteers,” she said who are fellow veterans her organization has helped in the past.
The veterans, who were kicked out of the hotels, about 60 miles north of the Big Apple, were scheduled to stay for a month until permanent housing could be found for them, Toney-Finch said.
The vets were about two weeks into their hotel stays when they got the boot, she said.
One of the hotels identified by the vets’ advocacy group as having displaced several veterans told The Post on Saturday that it has not booted any vets, nor taken in migrants or have any plans to.
No one has contacted the hotel, the Hampton Inn in Middletown, about taking any, added the rep, Luz Pesick, vice president of operations for the hotel’s owner.
“That information is not correct — he is not taking any migrants in,” Pesick said of the owner. “He is not displacing any veterans.”
More than 60,000 migrants have descended on New York City in the weeks before the end of Title 42, the Trump-era border policy that allowed Border Patrol officials to return migrants to Mexico that ended Thursday night.
A City Hall spokesman said that the city had been overwhelmed by the migrant deluge and that other parts of the state needed to do their part to help alleviate the situation.
“New York City has cared for more than 65,000 migrants — sheltering, feeding, and caring for them, and we have done so largely without incident,” said City Hall spokesman Fabien Levy. “Right now, we’re asking Orange County to manage less than one-quarter of 1% of the asylum seekers who have come to New York City, with New York paying for shelter, food, and services.”