As shelters fill up, NYC scales tents to house migrants

As shelters fill up, NYC scales tents to house migrants

NEW YORK (AP) – New York City’s mayor says he plans to build hangar-sized tents as temporary shelter for thousands of international migrants bussed into the Big Apple as part of a campaign by Republican governors to disrupt policies federal border.

The tents are among a range of options – from using cruise ships to summer camps – the city is considering housing some 13,000 migrants who have ended up in New York after being bused north from border towns in Texas and Arizona. .

“This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Thursday.

New York City’s massive system of homeless shelters is strained to accommodate the unexpected new flow of migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

In Arizona and Texas, officials are loading people onto buses for free trips to Washington and New York City. Later, Florida, which has a Republican governor running for re-election, flew migrants – at public expense – to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Adams said the city has opened 23 emergency shelters — and is considering 38 more — to handle the people bussed into the city since May. The city also recently opened a new multi-million dollar intake center to help settle the newcomers quickly.

The first tent is proposed for a remote corner of the Bronx, a parking lot at a popular city beach on Long Island Sound where public transportation is limited. Officials are looking into other areas.

A rendering of the likely design of the facility, released by the city, showed rows and rows of cages. The tent would likely be heated, as autumn nights in the city can be quite cool, but the city released few details.

City officials said these facilities – which they call “humanitarian emergency response and relief centers” – would not house migrants for up to four days while the city arranged for other forms of shelter.

Advocates for the homeless weren’t sure how to respond.

“We don’t have enough details about their plan to comment,” said Josh Goldfein, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society. “If the goal of this is to quickly assess what people need and connect them to services that will help them, that’s great.”

But he said the proposal has yet to be finalised.

“All we know is a location, and a picture of a big tent,” he said. “We don’t know what it will be – or who.”

In a joint statement, the Legal Aid Society and the Homeless Coalition said they were working with city officials to find “a viable solution that satisfies New York’s legal and moral obligation to provide safe and adequate shelter to all who seeks it, including asylum seekers.”

Earlier this month, Adams floated the idea of ​​putting hundreds of migrants on cruise ships.

Critics panned that idea, saying it needs to offer more durable solutions to a problem that has long plagued the city: How to find permanent shelter for the city’s homeless — not just new migrants but its population significant number of homeless people.

Overall, the number of people staying each night in New York City homeless shelters has dropped in recent years, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, city officials reduced shelter capacity, leaving the system unprepared for the sudden surge in people needing help.

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