In a shocking turn of events, a 94-year-old US Army veteran, Frank Tammaro, is speaking out against his abrupt eviction from Island Shores Residences in Staten Island. This long-standing nursing home, which had been his home for years, recently decided to make room for migrants, leaving Frank and 53 other seniors with less than two months’ notice to find alternative living arrangements.
This controversial move has ignited a firestorm of criticism, with many questioning the fairness of the decision. Frank Tammaro, a lifelong New Yorker, expressed his deep disappointment, stating, “I felt horrible. It’s no joke getting thrown out of a house.” This sentiment resonates with countless Americans who believe that our veterans should be treated with the utmost respect and care.
Island Shores Residences had initially promised its residents that it would reopen under new management. However, it appears that behind closed doors, a different plan was hatched. The facility was sold to Homes for the Homeless, which later made an agreement with City Hall to convert it into the Midland Beach Migrant Center. This revelation has left residents and their families bewildered and outraged.
Tammaro’s daughter, Barbara Annunziata, echoed her father’s sentiments, expressing her frustration with the situation. “These migrants, they’re getting everything. They’re getting everything, and I can’t get anything for [Tammaro],” she lamented. She also revealed her difficulties in securing insurance for a home health aide, contrasting it with what she perceives as preferential treatment for migrants.
Adding fuel to the fire, GOP leaders from Staten Island have criticized the city and the nonprofit organization that owns the facility for their handling of the situation. Assemblyman Michael Tannousis pointed out, “The City of New York has been employing a practice of opening migrant shelters and placing migrants into shelters under the cover of darkness,” leaving the community and elected officials in the dark.
Homes for the Homeless, the new owners of Island Shores, explained their decision as a move to focus on serving homeless families, seemingly at the expense of the senior residents who had called the facility their home for years. The abrupt shift in priorities has left many scratching their heads, wondering why the needs of vulnerable veterans and seniors were overlooked in favor of migrants.
The Department of Social Services (DSS) announced that the former senior living facility would be turned into a migrant shelter for 113 families, complete with private rooms and meal services. This decision led to protests by outraged Staten Islanders who felt blindsided by the sudden transformation of their neighborhood. The frustration even escalated to the point where protesters physically blocked the arrival of an MTA bus carrying asylum seekers.
While Mayor Adams described the protest as an “ugly display” put on by a small group of New Yorkers, one protester, Sal Monforte, insisted that the demonstration was peaceful until the arrival of the police. Monforte, who lives close to the shelter, claimed that the police turned the scene into a riot.
Frank Tammaro, the Army vet at the center of this controversy, remains steadfast in his conviction that this decision was made without adequate input from the community. “We didn’t have a chance to actually make any attempt to stop them because there wasn’t enough time,” Tammaro said, reflecting on the lack of transparency surrounding the facility’s transformation.
In a time when immigration and the treatment of veterans are hot-button issues, the Island Shores Residences debacle raises questions about fairness, transparency, and the priorities of our communities. As the story continues to unfold, it serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing seniors and veterans in America today, and the need for a more thoughtful and compassionate approach to addressing their needs.