NYC vacates another commercial property housing migrants

US

City inspectors cleared a Bronx juice bar where migrants were being unlawfully housed Wednesday, just two days after vacating a furniture store in Queens – run by the same man – that was partially being used as a residence for dozens of West African migrants, according to fire officials and the business owner.

Ebou Sarr, who runs the Sarr’s Organic & Natural Farm in the Bronx’s Fordham neighborhood, said one of the men staying in the building called him on Wednesday afternoon to tell him that city officials were vacating the property. Sarr said he was using the two-story commercial space to house migrant men in the “same situation” that city agencies had targeted two days earlier at his furniture store in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Sarr said he was using the furniture store to accommodate men who had recently arrived in New York City from Senegal, Mali and other West African nations.

‘They’re taking people out of there in the Bronx,” Sarr told Gothamist in a phone call. “Right now they’re on top of me.”

FDNY spokesperson Clare Bourke confirmed the multi-agency action. She said the department “received a complaint about occupants in a cellar, as well as multiple e-bikes and batteries being stored.”

Records show two complaints about the property were filed with the Department of Buildings on Wednesday, including one that reported “about 60 people or plus” were staying in the basement.

Department of Building spokesperson Ryan Degan said inspectors found 34 beds on the commercial space’s first floor and 11 “tightly packed together” in the basement, along with extension cords, space heaters and hot plates.

Degan said the agency issued a vacate order and two violations to the building’s landlord, 305 East Kingsbridge Road LLC, for illegal occupancy. He added that people staying there were referred to the Office of Emergency Management.

The LLC owner is linked to the large real estate firm Solil Management, according to court documents. Representatives for the property and Solil Management did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Sarr, 48, previously said he was trying to help migrants who would otherwise be staying on the streets.

“We have a lot of people who came to this country, to New York, too, and they needed help,” he said Tuesday.

Sarr said he arranged beds in the basement and first floor of a commercial space on Liberty Avenue in Queens and charged the occupants $300 a month each for a bed and food.

He told Gothamist his efforts began in October when a cousin arrived in New York City with nowhere else to turn. Sarr said he then took in a close friend’s brother, followed by dozens of others who had heard about the accommodations.

“I decided to bring these guys in because there’s so many of them so that we can work together and get a place for ourselves,” he said.

Sarr said he hopes to purchase a separate building to house migrants.

“All of these guys are working,” he said. “We don’t need a handout. We just need a building”

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