NEW YORK — Bronx residents gathered in Riverdale Sunday, protesting the possibility of a former Manhattan College building being turned into a shelter for asylum seekers. The building, located on West 238th Street at the corner of Waldo Avenue, has been under scrutiny since news of its potential transformation began circulating.
Many residents argue that the area needs affordable housing, rather than a migrant shelter, which they fear might change the neighborhood’s character. Overlook Manor, a seven-story structure, served as a Manhattan College dormitory for almost half a century. Earlier this year, it changed hands when it was sold to a private entity, Shagg Group, for $18 million.
During a recent community meeting, an official from Shagg Group surprised attendees by revealing ongoing discussions with the Department of Homeless Services about converting the building into migrant housing.
“I’m concerned about the neighborhood and who is going to be here. Do we really know who they are?,” one resident said.
Another local took a different stance, saying, “No matter what they claim, they’re protesting migrants. They’re protesting people. And they’re protesting people who have every right to be in this city.”
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said that the proposal remains tentative.
The city has been struggling to find housing for asylum seekers. So far, the mayor’s office says that approximately 110,000 asylum seekers have made their way to the city since last spring.