Some of the giant tents which had been built on an island have reportedly opened up Wednesday as the New York City’s latest temporary shelter for an influx of international migrants who are being directed into the city on Buses by the southern border states.
The humanitarian relief center which is situated ib Randall’s Island is also intended to be a temporary waystation for single, adult men — many from Venezuela — who have also been arriving several times per week on buses chartered predominantly from Texas and it has been reported that the tents include cots for up to 500 people, laundry facilities, a dining hall and phones for residents to make international calls.
The city’s plan is to bring single men to the facility after they come into the main Manhattan bus terminal and to house them there for a period of days while determining next steps, officials said. The first arrivals were brought to the center on Wednesday.
“We needed a different type of operation that gave us the time and space to welcome people, provide them a warm meal, shower, a place to sleep, to understand their medical needs, to really then work with them to figure out what their next step is going to be,” said Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol.
The white, plastic-walled tents also include a space where migrants can meet with case workers to determine their next steps, as well as a recreational room with televisions, video games and board games. They are heated, since overnight autumn temperatures can fall into the 40s and 30s. In the sleeping area, row upon row of green cots stretch out, each one with a pillow, some sheets and a blanket, and some towels. The city said it will be able to double the sleeping capacity of the tents, if needed.
Similar types of tents have been used as temporary shelters in other places, like the southern U.S. border. In recent years, both the Trump and Biden administrations have come under criticism for conditions in some tents, including overcrowding.
In recent months, New York City has seen an unexpected increase in migrants seeking asylum in the United States who have been sent to the city from other states including Texas and Arizona. The influx has put a strain on the city’s shelter system, leading officials to look for other places to house people and propose the temporary tent facilities. Migrant families with children are being housed in a hotel.
New York City’s homeless shelter system is now bursting with more than 63,300 residents. While there are fewer families in the shelters now than there were in the years before the pandemic, the number of single men has soared since the spring, largely because of the influx of migrants. There were more than 20,000 single adults in the shelter system Monday, up 23% from the nightly average in July.