Migrants describe poor living conditions in Albany County hotels

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Migrants bused to Albany County from New York City are describing their living conditions in their own words, after leaders in the county leveled accusations of mistreatment against the company charged with their care.

Tuesday, local lawmakers accused the company DocGo—contracted with New York City to help migrants—of instead mistreating them and blocking Albany County from basic information about them.

Local organizations who say they’re shouldering the cost of helping migrants, despite DocGo’s claim in a statement Tuesday that “DocGo has been working with county executives in municipalities across New York State contracting with Community-Based Organizations and a wide range of local vendors to provide the care and services required to ensure asylees needs are met.”

Migrants tell NewsChannel 13 in Spanish, they’ve been served spoiled food and that children are not getting the food, quantity of diapers or accommodations they need. They are going to local organization Capital District Latinos, among others, for help, but the small organization said Wednesday it was reaching a breaking point.

NewsChannel 13 spoke to one woman who arrived to Albany in July, getting food and a meal at Capital District Latinos.  

The woman said her daughter hasn’t been able to get the wheelchair she needs, explaining she hasn’t been able to move a lot, because she has to carry her daughter everywhere.

After NewsChannel 13’s story aired at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, a viewer delivered a wheelchair to the family.

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One man said the migrants feel stuck, as they can’t legally work and said they have had no assistance getting school-age children enrolled for the fall.

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He said he went to the Albany City School District because it’s important to him to get the children into school. The school district told him that no one had reached out to let them know how many children are in the hotels.

Micky Jimenez is Capital District Latinos’ executive director, cooking food for a group of migrants Wednesday—many who arrived to Albany just weeks ago.

“My staff is three, three and then me,” she said.

NewsChannel 13 interviewed Jimenez in September 2022, when she warned the community was not prepared for an influx of migrants—and now, she said, “We are getting to the point that we have a heart, but we can also do what we can with what we have and it’s just not sustainable anymore.”

She says DocGo’s claims that they are working with local organizations is false, that instead Capital District Latinos has provided food, clothing and classes on their own dime.

“We hear these stories on a daily basis. And almost verbatim,” she said of what migrants say about the conditions in hotels. “So these folks are not making this up.”

NewsChannel 13 reiterated each of the migrants’ claims to DocGo. The company said in a statement that it’s confident in its food program and is organizing school sign-ups for families.

With regards to food, DocGo said Wednesday, ” DocGo provides three full meals per day, which are both sufficient and nutritionally sound. These meals are prepared by an experienced chef who works at a local minority/women-owned business and are delivered fresh twice a day. In addition to the three full meals, we also provide additional snacks, including yogurts, chips, juice and bottled water available throughout the day. We appreciate that people’s taste differ, but our meal program is absolutely sound.”

When it comes to schools, the company said, “DocGo has been working with the local school districts to schedule school sign-up events at each of our hotels.  These events are scheduled on August 17 and August 18. This information has been shared with all of our families.” 

A statement went on to say, “DocGo is working with three different local Albany vendors for food, security and laundry services.  Additionally, we provide access to a variety of CBOs to provide services including legal aid, ESL and additional community engagement.”