Malliotakis, 95 Year Old Veteran Forced to Leave What Is Now Migrant Shelter Slam City’s Shady Deal
Bipartisan group calling for transparency from City & non-profit to answer for where veterans were forcibly relocated, when parties first engaged in talks, and how much the contract is worth
(STATEN ISLAND, NY) – Today Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) joined New York State State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, Korean War Veteran and former Island Shores resident Frank Tammaro and other elected officials and representatives from local veteran groups in voicing outrage following New York City’s shady and lucrative deal with Homes for the Homeless to turn Island Shores Senior Residences into a migrant shelter, forcing seniors, including at least eight veterans to leave their homes to house up to 300 migrants residing in our country illegally.
The bipartisan group called for transparency from the City and Homes for the Homeless as to where these veterans – some of whom served in WWII – were forcibly relocated, when the parties first engaged in talks about transforming the facility into a shelter, and how much taxpayer money will be spent as part of the deal between the two parties.
“We’re here today to highlight what we believe is a real injustice – something that’s showing our country and our city’s priorities are backwards,” Malliotakis said. ” My blood pressure went through the roof when I found out Homes for the Homeless cut a deal with the City of New York to turn Island Shores into a migrant shelter. Our tax dollars as citizens of New York should not be utilized to house citizens of other countries, especially at the expense of our senior citizens and veterans who put their lives on the line, paid taxes their whole lives and built our communities. This is not the first time Homes for the Homeless has shuttered its doors and forced seniors out to the curb. We are here today because we want answers. We want transparency. We want accountability from this Administration.”
“What we’re seeing right now is the true cracks in our foundation coming to light,” said State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, Chair of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. “Ripping 90 year olds out of the place that they call home is simply the wrong answer, especially our veterans who fought for this country. Homes for the Homeless made it sound like they were going to be selling this facility and they left these seniors with the hope that maybe somebody else would take it over, and they didn’t. They misled the seniors, they misled the veterans, and they misled their families…We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this.”
“The thing I’m annoyed about is how they did it – it was very disgraceful what they did to the people in Island Shores,” said Frank Tammaro, a Korean War Veteran and former resident of Island Shores Senior Residences who was forced to vacate his home. “They gave us time to get out, but they never said when…Then one day there was a notice on the board. I think that gave us a month and a half to find out where we were going to go. I thought my suitcases were going to be on the curb because I’m not that fast. If it wasn’t for my daughter, they would’ve been on the curb. That was it. I said ‘No, no, no, no, you’re not moving me,’ and they said “yes, yes, yes we are.’ Everything was done behind closed doors – we didn’t have a chance to actually make any attempt to stop them because there wasn’t enough time.”
Upon learning Homes for the Homeless was looking to sell Island Shores, Malliotakis and City Councilman David Carr’s office reached out to help find a suitable buyer that would maintain it as an assisted living facility. Both offices were met with no response. Malliotakis has formally submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to see the contract between the City and Homes for the Homeless.
“The Congresswoman and I were engaged with Homes for the Homeless about trying to find a suitable buyer, which is what they said they intended to do so Island Shores could continue operating as an assisted living facility” said New York City Councilman David Carr. “After forwarding them a couple of entities, there was dead silence…They refused to have even an exploratory conversation and said ‘we’re just not looking to sell in this market.’ Why the change? Clearly someone at Homes for the Homeless saw an opportunity – an opportunity for them to get another profitable contract from the City of New York, and do what they do in other places and what they did in Manhattan, which is converting another senior home into a shelter. It’s disgraceful.”
“Something that has been apparent during the last few months is how wacky the priorities of this City are,” said State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis. “Our constituents should take a long hard look at these not-for-profits and the type of deals that they are making. They are lining their pockets with our tax dollars. Our constituents have a right to know where their tax money is going. Those questions are not being answered. When is the rest of this city going to wake up and see what is happening? I want everyone out there to ask themselves a question: who is benefitting from the migrant crisis? The people that are lining their pockets.”
Malliotakis added: “Frank is very fortunate to have a loving family and a support system, but not every senior has that. We know that there were seniors in that facility that did not have that support system and that’s why we demand to know what happened to them…That’s the question we need the media to ask Homes for the Homeless. If you didn’t sell the property, and you still weren’t interested in selling the property, then what was the rush to get these senior citizens out? They deserve to know; they deserve to have answers.”
Banner Image: Press Conference. Image Credit – Rep. Malliotakis