As officials prepare to open a tent facility to provide temporary housing for hundreds of people seeking asylum in the U.S., New York City will support a second immigrant shelter for up to 200 families at a Times Square hotel.
The city’s Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers aim to ease the burden on an already strained shelter system, with more than 18,000 people seeking asylum – including hundreds bused north by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott – seeking refuge in the city .
The Row Hotel in Times Square will initially serve 200 families, “with the ability to scale to serve additional families in the coming weeks,” according to a statement from Mayor Eric Adams.
“This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach, and these humanitarian emergency response centers will take on a multitude of facets with similarities that will all help assess and provide immediate support to arriving asylum seekers. “, he said in a statement.
“We will continue to respond with care and compassion as we face this man-made humanitarian crisis,” the mayor added.
Relief centers serve as a “first point of contact” for newly arrived asylum seekers, with legal and medical support, food and help to find more permanent shelter.
A tent facility that can temporarily house up to 500 people will soon open in a parking lot on Randall’s Island.
Last week, the mayor announced he was relocating an under-construction tent shelter from a Bronx parking lot to the island after concerns about flooding in the area.
Mayor Adams also declared a state of emergency to deal with the influx of newly arrived immigrants and urged state and federal agencies to provide immediate support.
On October 10, the city’s Department of Homeless Services census recorded a new one-day record of 62,174 people living in the city’s shelter system, surpassing the previous record of 61,415 from January 12, 2019.
The average length of stay in the city’s shelters has also increased dramatically, with single adults spending an average of 509 days in shelters, while families with children spend 534 days and adult families 855 days.
This increase is “fueled by the increasing number of people entering the system, by bureaucratic bottlenecks that prevent residents from quickly transitioning into permanent and secure affordable housing, and, most importantly, by the city’s continued failure to create enough affordable housing for New Yorkers who need it most,” according to the Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society.
The organizations urged the Adams administration to “take definitive action to move homeless New Yorkers into permanent housing” and expand government-supported housing voucher programs that have long waiting lists.
Civil rights groups and officials also criticized the Adams administration’s plan to temporarily house immigrants in tent facilities, warning that doing so could violate the right-to-housing mandate.
According to City Hall, newly arrived immigrants have outstripped the availability of shelter spaces within the city’s extensive system. About 40 hotels have been tapped to temporarily house the migrants, and the city is also considering a shelter on a docked cruise ship.
Housing and immigration advocates have urged the city to facilitate more permanent housing options, rather than tents, to provide for newly arrived immigrants, and have pointed to the city’s failure to bolster its housing assets — not the arrival of immigrants. – has led to a current shelter crisis.
This is a developing story