New York News

Citing Safety Concerns, FDNY Shutters St. John Villa Migrant Shelter

The migrant shelter at St. John Villa Academy in Staten Island was shut down by the city after the FDNY deemed it unsafe. (Photo: Screenshot from Currents News)

by The Tablet Staff

STATEN ISLAND — The city closed the controversial migrant shelter at the former site of St. John Villa Academy on Staten Island on Monday, Oct. 16, after the FDNY declared the building to be a fire hazard.

The FDNY inspected the building and found non-working fire alarms and a faulty sprinkler system.

About 200 migrants who had been housed at the former Catholic school in the Arrochar neighborhood in northeast Staten Island were placed in buses and taken to the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown.

The shelter had been the site of numerous protests by Staten Island residents who charged that St. John Villa Academy should never have been chosen as a shelter site by the Adams administration.

The city began placing migrants there in August. The migrants are among the estimated 110,000 people who have been bused into New York from Texas and other border states since last year.

The controversy over St. John Villa Academy reached a head later in August when a group of Staten Island lawmakers, including Borough President Vito Fossella and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against the city, which owns the property. In their suit, the plaintiffs demanded that the site be closed.

The plaintiffs won a round in court on Sept. 26 when Judge Wayne Ozzi granted their request for a temporary injunction. The Adams administration notified the court that it intended to appeal.

Following the judge’s ruling, Malliotakis said the shuttered building should be reopened as a school. “It’s time to move on and make St. John Villa Academy the 1,000-seat school Staten Island students were promised and deserve,” she said in a statement.

The closing of the St. John Villa Academy site came on the heels of the city’s decision to shut down another Staten Island migrant shelter location, the former Richard H. Hungerford School in Stapleton, on Oct. 12. In that case, the site was shuttered over concerns that the building contained asbestos.