The Big Apple will begin setting up large tents to house intake centers and cots for the flood of migrants arriving daily as the months-long influx from the southern border has overwhelmed city shelters, Mayor Adams announced Thursday.
City Hall laid out the plan as officials revealed that more than 2,000 additional migrants — predominantly asylum seekers fleeing Venezuela — had streamed into the five boroughs over just the last week.
That brings the total number to an estimated 13,600, the bulk of which — 10,300 — are staying in city shelters.
“More than 100 years ago, Ellis Island opened its doors to welcome in those ‘yearning to breathe free,’ ” said Hizzoner in an accompanying statement. “Now, more than ever, it’s clear that we are again dealing with a humanitarian crisis created by human hands.”
He added, “While other leaders have abdicated their moral duty to support arriving asylum seekers, New York City refuses to do so.”
The first of the emergency shelter facilities will consist of five tents set up in a parking lot at Orchard Beach in The Bronx.
It will have enough beds to house up to 1,000 adults, who officials say will stay there for one to four days as they do initial assessments of their health and welfare before placing them into the city’s shelter system.
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The temporary buildings would be weatherized and able to withstand the cold and snow that can come with a New York winter, officials said. And they will include a dining facility and medical space.
Shelters at max
Adams’ administration declined Thursday to provide a price tag or an opening date for the new facility, but said it would be up and running within weeks. Officials also said they were working on plans to create a similar facility for arriving families, but declined to provide any additional details.
City Hall’s own initial statement said nothing about beds, but included an image of row upon row of cots lined up beneath a temporary, tent-like shelter.
The influx has pushed the scandal-scarred shelter system to the breaking point even as officials have rented space in 38 hotels across the city to try and keep up with the wave.
City Hall’s new tent push comes just days after court-appointed watchdogs — the Coalition for the Homeless and The Legal Aid Society — for the shelter system revealed the Department of Homeless Services apparently violated the Big Apple’s strict right-to-shelter protections for the second time this year.
Adams hit back, accusing the groups of playing gotcha.
The two groups predicably gave a chilly reception to Adams’ new plan, releasing a statement that said they had put “a series of questions about this proposal” to City Hall and were awaiting “their responses.”
“We are deeply concerned with any scenario in which families with children would be relegated to congregate settings,” they said. “This practice, which has been widely condemned for its adverse and dangerous impact on this uniquely vulnerable population, is already subject to legal prohibitions.”