New York’s mayor says he plans to erect hangar-sized tents as temporary shelter for thousands of international migrants who have been bussed into the city as part of a campaign by Republican governors to disrupt federal border policies.
The tents are among an array of options – from using cruise ships to summer camps – the city is considering as it struggles to find housing for an estimated 13,000 asylum seekers who have wound up in New York after being bussed north from border towns in Texas and Arizona.
“This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach,” the mayor, , said in a statement.
In Arizona and Texas, officials have loading people on buses for free trips to Washington and New York City, while being accused of deceiving some passengers, or giving them little choice when they have no money to get where they actually want to go. More recently they transported people to Chicago and, via Florida’s governor, to Martha’s Vineyard.
Adams said the city had opened 23 emergency shelters and was considering 38 more to handle the people brought into the city since May.
The city also recently opened an intake center to help the newcomers quickly get settled.
The first tent has been 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 cots. The city has released few details.
City officials said these facilities – which they call “humanitarian emergency response and relief centers – would only house individuals for up to four days while the city arranged other types of shelter.
In a joint statement, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless said it was working with city officials to come up with “a viable solution that satisfies New York’s legal and moral obligation to provide safe and adequate shelter to all who seek it, including asylum seekers”.
Earlier this month, Adams had floated the idea of housing hundreds of migrants on cruise ships.
Overall, the number of people staying nightly in New York City’s homeless shelters had fallen in recent years, partly due to Covid-19. That led city officials to reduce shelter capacity.