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“He told me he had to leave because the hotel said the extended stay is not available. Then I got another call,” she told the Post. “We didn’t waste any time.”
Toney-Finch said that after she received call-after-call, her foundation immediately started organizing to figure out “when and where to move them all.”
“Last night, I was crying,” she said.
While the hotels did not provide Toney-Finch with a reason as to why the homeless veterans were no longer welcomed to stay at their properties, she said that the timing of the illegal immigrants being shuttled into the county confirmed the notion, the outlet reports.
Toney-Finch said that 20 homeless veterans were removed from their hotels in Newburgh. 15 of them were booted from the Crossroads Hotel, three were told to leave the Super 8, and two got the boot from the Hampton Inn & Suites in Middletown.
However, Toney-Finch told the Post that the foundation was able to secure a new location to house the veterans and all 20 of them have been booked into a Hudson Valley hotel roughly 20 minutes away.
This also came at an impact which resulted in “loss of trust” between the homeless veterans and the foundation, Toney-Finch said.
The Yerik Israel Toney Foundation had worked out an agreement with the hotels which allowed veterans to temporarily stay at the three hotels for four weeks before they could find them permanent housing. However, they only ended up staying for about two weeks, cutting the agreement short.
“Now we have to work from ground zero. We just lost that trust [with the vets],” she told the Post. “A lot of them are Vietnam veterans. We do help them on a constant basis to get them benefits and help them find a place in society.”
Toney-Finch said what happened was “so unfair, because at the end of the day, we are a small nonprofit, and we do pay $88 a day for a veteran to be there.”
Brian Maher, a Republican representative for Orange County, slammed the county’s decision to remove the homeless veterans from the hotels and said that it’s time to put “Americans first.”
“Shining a light on this is important because we need to make sure these hotels know how important it is to respect the service of our veterans before they kick [them] out of hotels to make room,” Maher said. “They really ought to think about the impact on these people already going through a traumatic time.”
“Whether you agree with asylum-seekers being here or not, we can’t just ignore these veterans that are in our charge that we are supposed to protect: the New Yorkers and Americans,” he said. “We need to put them first.”
“For these people only being there a few weeks, then to be told after having a level of trust developed, ‘Hey, you have to get out,’ That’s not right,'” he said. “One thing I’m doing today is my staff and I are putting together care packages to let them know: ‘Listen, we are embarrassed by this. We put a bunch of things in the care package as well as cards for the veterans to say, ‘Thank you.'”
New York City Mayor Adams began transporting illegal immigrants via buses to Upstate New York on Thursday just ahead of Title 42’s expiration, the Trump-era policy instituted under Covid that granted Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security officials the ability to expel illegal immigrants over health concerns.
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