NYC to open relief center for migrants at cruise terminal in Red Hook

January 23, 2023

Image via WikiCommons

About a week after declaring there is no more room for migrants in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced the opening of a fifth emergency response and relief center to accommodate the growing number of asylum seekers. The new center will open at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook in the coming weeks and serve roughly 1,000 single adult men, providing them shelter and medical, food, laundry, and reconnective services. The men will be relocated to the terminal from the Watson Hotel, which will be used to house families with children instead. An opening date for the center has not been announced yet.

“With more than 41,000 asylum seekers arriving in New York City since last spring and nearly 28,000 asylum seekers currently in our care, our city is at its breaking point,” Adams said.“We continue to surpass both our moral and legal obligations and meet the needs of people arriving in New York, but as the number of asylum seekers continues to grow, we are in serious need of support from both our state and federal governments.”

“This fifth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center will provide approximately 1,000 asylum seekers with a place to stay, access support, and get to their final destination.”

According to Adams, the shelter will be temporary and will close ahead of cruise season this spring when the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is set to reopen.

Critics have taken issue with the location of the planned shelter, citing its distance from the subway system, proximity to chilling waterfront winds, and being situated within a high-risk flood zone. These issues are similar to those taken with the former Randall’s Island shelter facility, which closed in November 2022 after a month of operation.

The city said the facility will close months before hurricane season, which in the summer heightens the risks of flooding in low-elevation areas like Red Hook.


Last week, Mayor Adams agreed to sign a $275 million contract with the Hotel Association of NYC to provide housing for at least 5,000 asylum seekers, or $55,000 per asylum seeker. Under the terms of the emergency agreement between the city’s Department of Homeless Services and the Hotel Association, the deal will include up to 55 smaller hotels. Since the crisis began, NYC has reopened 77 hotels as emergency migrant shelters.

The city’s migrant crisis has pushed its shelter system past its limits and is projected to cost the city up to $2 billion, according to the New York Times.

“There is no more room,” Adams told Politico in an interview during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington last week. “It’s not that we’re getting to that point. We’re at that point, and I wanted to be clear with New Yorkers of what we’re facing, how this is going to impact every city service that we deliver to New Yorkers.”

Last Sunday, Adams visited the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas in an effort to pressure the federal government to grant the city additional assistance to help stem the crisis.


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