According to a statement that was issued by the city on Thursday night, New York City will be closing down a tent facility for migrants on Randalls Island. This facility has been the target of criticism from members of the New York City Council as well as immigrant rights activists ever since it opened on October 19.
The facility is planned to close the following week, which symbolises yet another adjustment in Mayor Eric Adams’s attempts to deal with the unexpected arrival of more than 23,000 migrants in recent months. The majority of these migrants were bused into New York City from Texas.
The decision was communicated through a press release that was distributed late on Thursday evening. According to the statement, the occupants of the facility on Randalls Island would be provided with transportation to the Watson Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The Watson Hotel has 600 rooms, all of which will now be used to house asylum seekers. According to the statement that Mr. Adams released, the city is now catering to the requirements of more than 17,500 people who are seeking refuge.
In the statement, Mr. Adams is quoted as saying, “We continue to welcome asylum seekers arriving in New York City with compassion and care.” It is very evident that we continue to need financial help from our state and federal partners; nonetheless, we will continue to pivot and shift as the situation warrants in order to address this humanitarian disaster.
The tent facility, which was intended for adult males living alone and has been winterized, has an entertainment centre and a café in addition to its 500 available sleeping spaces. A number of the migrants who took use of the accommodations at the shelter lauded the facilities, which included TVs and telephones that could be used to make calls back home.
However, it is situated on Randalls Island, which is known for its high winds and remote location in the city. The island is home to a number of other homeless shelters; nevertheless, it is arguably most known for its role as a venue for summer music events and as the gateway to a stormy stretch of water known as Hell Gate.
The island does not have any residences or commercial buildings on it, and the site was almost immediately attacked by members of the City Council, who said that it may be cruel during the winter months. Those who were staying in the tent were had to walk outside in order to use the restroom, collect their possessions from lockers, and do their washing.
Joshua Goldfein, a staff lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, which represents the group that monitors conditions at city homeless shelters, stated that the facility did not comply with city rules that governed “congregate settings” because the beds were too close together and too many of them were crammed into one room. Additionally, he stated that the facility did not meet the requirements of the group that monitors conditions at city homeless shelters. Legal Aid had also received complaints from migrants who complained the heating system in the tent did not keep it warm enough, he added. These migrants claimed that Legal Aid had received these concerns.
He voiced his approval of the decision made by the city to shut down the plant on Thursday.
According to Mr. Goldfein, “It’s as if they designed a model that didn’t take into consideration all of the expertise that the city has had for decades for how to give services to people.” This was Mr. Goldfein’s description of the situation. “They wanted to start from scratch, and many were not happy with that. On top of that, they were unfriendly.”