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Children's education top of mind for asylum seeker families now facing eviction

Children's education top of mind for asylum seeker families now facing eviction
Children's education top of mind for asylum seeker families now facing eviction 02:09

NEW YORK -- Asylum seeker families at a Midtown, Manhattan shelter say they face an uncertain future as they begin to receive eviction notices.

Not only are they worried about housing, they don't know what it means for their children's education.

A mother from Venezuela told CBS New York in Spanish her family is one of the first from The Row -- a Midtown hotel converted into a shelter -- to receive a 60-day eviction notice, a limit Mayor Eric Adams' administration implemented due to a lack of space in the city as asylum seekers continue to arrive.

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She said the city paired her with a caseworker to help find other shelter options so they're not left in the cold. However, she worries it will be far from her children's school.

"They told us they're going to relocate us, but not here in Manhattan, not close to where my kids go to school," the mother said. "My daughter, who is 16 years old, she tells me, 'Mommy, I don't want to go to another location,' or to somewhere far away because she likes the school."

"At this hearing, I want to focus on the harm shelter evictions have caused for public school students," said City Councilmember Shahana Hanif, chair of the Committee on Immigration. "When a child is forced to leave a shelter their place in the school community is threatened."

Hanif questioned Department of Education officials at a hearing Wednesday about whether or not students can stay in their current schools even if they move.

"Every family is fully aware they have the right to remain in their schools, and also if a parent chooses to change schools we have to work with them to ensure they have transportation," said Flavia Puello-Perdomo, the DOE's chief of schools, community support and wellness.

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Officials say currently there are more than 2,000 backlogged transportation requests from families in temporary housing. The DOE said it is working on a case-by-case basis to provide MetroCards for families, pre-paid ride-share programs and to coordinate buses.

"As soon as we get ... received the information of where the students are, live, reside, that's when transportation routing will begin," a DOE official said.

Despite the challenges, the mother from Venezuela said after her family's grueling journey from South America, she can handle a couple-mile move, adding she's just thankful to be in New York City.

As for families staying at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, the DOE has coordinated three coach buses that will take students to a subway so they can get to school. 

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