Report: Claims that homeless veterans in New York were evicted from hotel are false

Migrants who crossed the border from Mexico into Texas exit a bus as it arrives into the Port Authority bus station in Manhattan on Aug. 25, 2022 in New York City. Numerous buses from Texas filled with migrants have been arriving in New York City every few days since early August. Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to be at odds with New York City Eric Adams about border policies. Hundreds of migrants have been welcomed into the city and given temporary shelter as authorities try to find more permanent arrangements. Photo credit Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A claim by the YIT Foundation and its Executive Director Founder Sharon Toney-Finch that The Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, New York forced 20 homeless veterans out to make room for migrants is false, according to the hotel’s management.

Toney-Finch told Mid-Hudson News that 20 homeless veterans she works with were informed on May 12, 2023, that they had to check out the next day, creating a substantial hardship and a rush to find emergency housing for the displaced veterans that were at the hotel.

New York State Assemblyman Brian Maher provided Mid-Hudson News with a credit card receipt that purportedly showed a more than $37,000 payment for rooms for the vets. According to the paper, a graphics expert examined the receipt and said it appears to have been altered with smudges behind the darker type and different fonts on the receipt.

Contacted by Mid-Hudson News and shown a copy of a credit card receipt, the hotel manager said, “I checked the dollar on the net on the credit card ending in 5728 and the screen shows no transactions. The hotel has no record of this transaction.”

The manager told the paper said there were no veterans at the hotel, none were kicked out and no other guests were told to vacate.

The hotel does have a group of asylum seekers there, but it is not booked to capacity and rooms are available.

Toney-Finch had said she was able to relocate the 20 veterans to the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel in Fishkill, with her foundation picking up the bill. But no such guests were at the Fishkill facility, an employee told the Mid-Hudson News. Three veterans were being housed there by MHA Dutchess County, but the employee said that YIT had not put any veterans in the hotel for “a long time.”

MHA Dutchess is the service provider of the MHA Dutchess Vet2Vet program. According to the paper, thousands of veterans are assisted by those groups in the surrounding area each year.

“MHA Dutchess has a relationship with Wingate Dutchess,” MHA Dutchess President & CEO Andrew O’Grady told Mid-Hudson News. “We place veterans there while we seek permanent housing solutions. In an effort to engage these 20 veterans from Orange County, we contacted Wingate and were told that there were no veterans from Orange County placed at Wingate.”

Toney-Finch’s story shifted while being interviewed by Mid-Hudson News. She first claimed 20 veterans, across three different hotels, were told on May 7, that they needed to leave the following day. Revised statement indicated that the alleged displacement happened a week earlier than claimed, the paper reported. And, instead of all 20 veterans being housed at the Crossroads, the Toney-Finch said 15 vets were told to vacate the Crossroads, three were displaced from the Super 8 in the Town of Wallkill, and two others were kicked out of the Hampton Inn in Wallkill.

Toney-Finch then indicated that she moved the 20 vets to a hotel in Danbury for privacy this week, Mid-Hudson News reported. She claimed she had a standing agreement with the hotel and her credit card was on file to pay for the rooms.

But, the hotel refuted that, denying knowledge of Toney-Finch or the foundation, adding “We do not save credit cards – none of that is true.”

Assemblyman Maher’s chief of staff was told by Mid-Hudson News that the hotel is claiming that she had called asking for a copy of the invoice for the veterans that were kicked out and was told that no invoice existed because the veterans weren’t there. Asked to explain the incident, the aide told the paper, “We are trying to figure it out as well,” and said that Assemblyman Maher would call back with a statement.

Read the full report from the Mid-Hudson News here.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)