Oct. 16, 2023 By Iryna Shkurhan
A respite center for migrants at the site of the former St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point closed permanently this past weekend.
Council Member Vickie Paladino announced the closure of the center on Friday, Oct. 13, the same day that the transfer of migrants to permanent shelters across the city began. She added that the building, which accommodated approximately 300 asylum seekers in family units, became fully vacated on Oct. 15.
“As promised, the migrant shelter at St. Agnes is permanently closing two weeks early. I was on the scene all day assisting the 109th Precinct and shelter staff with organizing the migrants onto buses and out of the district,” said Paladino, who added that she “personally secured” bus transportation for the migrants.
In a video shared by Paladino on X, dozens of migrants are seen with all their personal belongings in hand outside of St. Agnes on 124th Street waiting to board an MTA bus on standby. Paladino appeared to be coordinating the transfer by calling out names to hand out ID badges to the migrants.
The site was initially scheduled to close on Oct. 31, which marked the end of its three month long contract. She attributed the early closure to conversations with the Mayor’s office and other stakeholders who were receptive to her advocacy. Community members have also protested the center since it opened in July, citing safety and security concerns.
“I have been fighting this from day one and I could not be more thrilled to secure the permanent closure of the St. Agnes respite center for my constituents of College Point,” said Paladino. “For too long, College Point has been neglected but I’m on the job every single day to reverse that trend.”
The building was turned over to the School Construction Authority, which will resume renovations to reopen it as a new public high school in 2026.