Expanding Access to Health Care for Newly Arrived Migrants
Special Projects Fund
September 25, 2023
More than 100,000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since spring 2022.
Most migrants arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Among them are children who need vaccines to enroll in schools, pregnant women needing immediate prenatal care, and people with a host of other physical health conditions, mental health issues, and trauma. In response, New York City has opened a central arrival center and several resource navigation centers where migrants can access necessities and be connected to community-based organizations. Additionally, NYC Health + Hospitals is providing emergency care, basic health care, and immunizations. Despite these resources, migrants face barriers when navigating the complex health system. The City’s safety net and housing systems have also been pushed to a breaking point, its emergency shelter population topping 100,000 in summer 2023. City officials have sought to relieve the pressure by busing more than 2,200 migrants to Western New York, Albany, and the Mid-Hudson region, with plans to relocate others to the Finger Lakes. But poor coordination has left those areas scrambling to meet demand for services and has contributed to growing tensions. In 2023, NYHealth awarded the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) a grant to address the urgent health and mental health needs of newly arriving migrants and asylum seekers settling in communities across New York State. NYHealth is also supporting complementary initiatives with Make the Road NY and Terra Firma at Montefiore Medical Center.
Under this grant, NYIC will leverage its coalition of more than 200 members to coordinate efforts between community-based organizations to create a welcoming and safe experience for those migrants bused from New York City. It will work with local partners upstate and downstate to provide services to up to 5,000 recent arrivals, focusing on health, mental health, food access, and other basic needs. NYIC will provide know-your-rights seminars for migrants; offer technical assistance to member organizations, including support in responding to community resistance; and coordinate with local health departments, elected officials, community health centers, and community-based organizations. Additionally, it will provide re-grants to Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo and For the Many in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Both organizations will provide case management and intakes to assess physical and mental health needs, make referrals to providers, provide transportation and accompaniment to appointments, and connect families with other support services.