OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York state’s stay-at-home order is impossible for some people who have no place to call home. Some of them are college students who are living in dorms.
But as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, they’re now now being told it’s time to go.
Residence halls at SUNY Old Westbury are deserted, but for a handful of students who say they are their only home.
“I have nowhere to go. The shelters are packed. We are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Kalief Metellus, the school’s student government president.
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Metellus has enrolled in summer classes and 10 days ago the college offered dorm housing to those without alternatives, but that all changed with a brief email on Thursday night that informed the remaining students that they had 24 hours to vacate.
“And I feel like I’m just being thrown out with nowhere to go — no resources, nothing at all,” Metellus said. “I called a lot of people. Their houses are full because they have family members as well, so it’s really hard.”
He said he appealed for an extension and was given until Wednesday.
All of it is overwhelming for students like him. Some are alone in this country, while others are alone in life.
“Honestly, I have nowhere to go and neither does the students,” Metellus said.
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Colleges facing their own financial stresses are making exceptions. SUNY Farmingdale has two students in otherwise shuttered dorms. SUNY Stony Brook has nearly 1,000.
A spokesman for SUNY Old Westbury told Gusoff the college chose not to offer summer housing when only two people applied.
“Our staff has offered to work with each of them to locate safe, secure accommodations elsewhere to the best of our ability,” the spokesman said.
Metellus said a handful of others had no money to apply for housing. He’s wondering where the millions of dollars are that Old Westbury is getting in Emergency Cares Act funding.
“When are we going to release the funding? The application hasn’t been released yet and we are in an emergency,” Metellus said.
College officials said it’s unclear if Cares funding can be used to run dorms for just a few students. But because the funding hasn’t even been released yet, the question is hypothetical.
But for students like Metellus, there’s nothing hypothetic about his Wednesday deadline to get out.