Speaker Adrienne Adams and NYC Council Members Criticize Adam’s Plan to Site Migrant Tent City at Randall’s Island, Propose New Approach
On Wednesday, October 5, the city’s proposal to move its Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center from Orchard Beach to Randall’s Island drew strong criticism from city council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, and the chair and members of the Council’s Immigration Committee. They cited the island’s environmental difficulties, which include the possibility of flooding during hurricane season and the exposure to colder temperatures made worse by being on the water and surrounded by the East River.
They requested that Mayor Eric Adams’ administration take other indoor places under consideration so that asylum seekers might receive emergency aid and intake services in a more humane manner.
Approximately 10 large hotels in Manhattan, which are now closed but may provide indoor space to accommodate intake and relief services for recently arrived asylum seekers, were mentioned by council members. Hotel employees who lost their jobs due to closures may have the chance to find new employment if these hotel-based relief centers are staffed.
The Council urged the Adams administration to remove administrative barriers and pursue policy modifications to speed up the process of moving people out of homeless shelters and lessen the strain on the system that is forcing an urgent expansion of temporary shelters.
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These adjustments include expanded availability of supportive housing placements and CityFHEPS as well as proper staffing of critical agency activities by:
- Getting rid of the requirement that people spend 90 days in the shelter system before being qualified for the CityFHEPS rental voucher program
- Reducing the number of homeless families with children who are unnecessarily transferred between conditional shelter placements by eliminating administrative obstacles and urging the State to reconsider verification requirements (families may be required to repeatedly return to the PATH Intake Center to reapply and be placed, which promotes instability and unnecessarily lengthens the timeframe to access transitional support out of the shelter system)
Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, Chair of the Council’s General Welfare Committee, said, “People seeking asylum, searching for safety and stability, face a backbreaking journey to New York City. We must find a way to help and provide them with adequate shelter, and putting them in another location that is a carbon copy of the Orchard Beach location is not a suitable one. We understand this is an unusual and difficult situation that has compounded our overstressed shelter system. The Council is focused on finding solutions to address the current migrant crisis, which is why we’ve identified more suitable locations for an intake and relief center we believe the administration should consider.”
In an interview with NY1 late on Wednesday, Mayor Adams said, “I agree with them that permanent housing is a more appropriate way to deal with this. I look forward to talking to them and looking at the plan that they are presenting.”