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New York City opens tent shelter on Randall's Island for incoming migrants 

The 84,000-square-foot facility hosts tents that can house up to 500 people, but can double in capacity if necessary

October 20, 2022 4:37am

Updated: October 20, 2022 9:36am

New York City opened its latest temporary shelter for migrants on Wednesday in Randall’s Island as the city continues to receive undocumented migrants bused from border states. 

At the end of September, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to set up “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers,” for the thousands of migrants arriving from Texas into the city every day. 

“Tent city,” as the project is often referred to, intends to operate as an intake center and shelter for the more than 20,500 asylum seekers that have arrived in the Big Apple since the spring. 

The 84,000-square-foot facility hosts tents that can house up to 500 people, but can double in capacity if necessary. Tent city also includes laundry facilities, a cafeteria, phones, and entertainment centers. 

Currently, the tents will only host single men, who will be brought to the facility after they arrive at Manhattan’s Port Authority bus terminal. During the time they are housed there, officials will help them assess their next steps in their pending immigration cases and how to reach their final destinations.

Families with children and single women are being housed in hotels. 

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Officials aim for the migrants to spend an average of 96 hours at the intake center. Some migrants, however, will be allowed to stay longer on a case-by-case basis until they find adequate housing. 

"New York City has had the need to open a welcome center big enough to have the capacity to welcome as many newly arrived immigrants, asylum-seekers," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

"We want to make sure that we're able to meet all their immediate needs, which as you saw include medical attention, include an area to rest, take a shower, and most importantly, a way to connect to their loved ones. You want to help them to get to their final destination."

Initially, Mayor Adams had planned to put the tents in Orchard Beach in the Bronx. However, city authorities decided to relocate the project to Randall’s Island after critics raised concerns about flooding. 

The relocation of the project cost the city about $325,000 and an additional $325,000 to set the tents up again in Randall’s Island.