Editor’s note: The CEO of the non-profit support group has been accused of misrepresenting the events described in this story.
Sharon Toney-Finch, CEO of the Yerik Israel Toney Foundation, told the New York Post that 20 homeless veterans were told they would need to end their stay early at hotels not far from New York City and find somewhere else to go.
“Our veterans have been placed in another hotel due to what’s going on with the immigrants,’’ said Tony-Finch. She said that 15 veterans were kicked out of Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh and five others were moved from a Super 8 and a Hampton Inn and Suites in Middletown.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been moving migrants, many of whom crossed illegally into the U.S. and are awaiting court dates, to Orange County, where both Middletown and Newburgh are located, because the Big Apple has seen such an influx of migrants.
Tony-Finch, whose foundation works with homeless and low-income veterans, said she received calls from some of the veterans after she said they were told they would need to move out. Veterans allegedly moved out include those who fought in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
“He [one veteran] told me he had to leave because the hotel said the extended stay is not available. Then I got another call. We didn’t waste any time,’’ Tony-Finch told the Post. “That’s when we started on Monday to organize when and where to move them all.”
Tony-Finch said that they were in the process of finding permanent housing for the veterans, who she arranged to move to a hotel in Hudson Valley, but that the veteran’s trust in the foundation was damaged because of the move. “Now we have to work from ground zero. We just lost that trust,” she said.
One reason the veterans were moved out, according to Tony-Finch, is that the hotels get paid more by New York City to house migrants than by the foundation to house vets. “That’s 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,” she said.
State Assemblyman Brian Maher said that America’s veterans should be respected and that they should get priority over migrants.
“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,” Maher, who represents Orange County told the Post. “We need to put them first.”