NYC looks to open two new tent shelters for migrants in Queens

July 17, 2023

The Randall’s Island tent shelter last October. Image courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

New York City is looking to open two new tent shelters for migrants in Queens. According to The City, facilities will be constructed at the state-owned Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village and at the Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park. Both sites, which have not officially been announced yet, are projected to house roughly 1,000 adults and could open within the next two to three weeks.

The two new Queens shelters will resemble the structures that the city opened, and quickly closed, last fall at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and on Randall’s Island.

According to recent city data, between July 3 and July 7 3,100 new asylum seekers entered city shelters, increasing the system’s total number of migrants to 53,000. A total of 103,400 people were being housed in the city’s shelter system as of July 9, according to city officials. City officials are still surveying additional locations to open up to asylum seekers in the next few weeks.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on Sunday said he wants better communication between the Adams administration and the local community where the shelters are opening.

“In The World’s Borough, we have always opened our arms to anyone who wishes to build that better life right here in our community, regardless of background, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender,” Richards said in a tweet. “That will never change, regardless of circumstance. Not now, not ever.”

Richards added: “But when it comes to these two proposed sites, the Mayor’s Office must establish a constant channel of communication with local leaders and neighborhood stakeholders through the creation of Community Advisory Boards for each location. Communication is absolutely critical.”

Richards also said the city should ensure the sites are close to transit for asylum seekers who need to travel elsewhere.

Late last month, the city’s shelter system surpassed 100,000 occupants for the first time, more than half of whom were asylum seekers. NYC is currently spending roughly $8 million a day on its shelter system, which has expanded to include nearly 180 new emergency facilities to accommodate the surge in asylum seekers that began in the spring of 2022. According to the New York Times, the city is expected to spend more than $4 billion on its shelter system by 2024.

Last week, Adams announced the opening of two more humanitarian relief shelters, one at an existing respite center at 47 Hall Street in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which added additional space for roughly 1,400 more migrant adults, and another at the Crowne Plaza JFK Airport New York hotel in Queens, which will serve more than 330 families with children seeking asylum. The Clinton Hill shelter is expected to become the city’s largest migrant shelter yet.

Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, criticized the mayor for his continued use of emergency shelters, instead recommending the creation of new housing.

“New Yorkers need more permanent housing, not more temporary shelters and HERRCs. The City’s emergency approach is short-sighted, costly, and ineffective, and repeats the same mistakes of the last year by continuously scapegoating asylum seekers for the administration’s own mismanagement of the shelter system,” Awawdeh said in a statement.


More: Policy
Location: Queens

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