Mayor Eric Adams announced on Saturday that New York City is temporarily converting a cruise ship terminal into a shelter and services hub for asylum seekers.
This is the most recent in a string of facilities the city has established—and occasionally shut down—as it struggles to deal with an ongoing influx.
Until it resumes its cruise operations in the spring, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will provide lodging, food, medical attention, and other amenities for 1,000 single men, according to an announcement from the mayor’s office.
Its initial residents will relocate from another relief facility located at a hotel, which will start housing refugee families with young children.
Adams, a Democrat who has frequently begged for state and federal assistance to manage the surge of asylum seekers — some of them bused by out-of-state governors — to the country’s most populous city, said, “Our city is at its breaking point.” Adams visited the southern U.S. border this week in El Paso, Texas, to emphasize the issue.
This fall, he proclaimed an emergency due to the situation.
According to the mayor, 41,000 asylum seekers have entered the city since last spring. For the almost 28,000 asylum seekers it already houses and those who may still arrive, the city will have five such “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief” centers after the construction of the port.
A total of 77 hotels have also been designated as emergency shelters.
Previous efforts by the city to provide shelters for newcomers have met with varied responses and levels of use.
In light of worries about storm flooding, a proposal to set up a tent the size of a hangar in a beach parking lot was abandoned.
The city eventually constructed a complex of enormous tents on an island home to a park and sports facilities; the tent facility was only briefly used before closing three weeks later as the pace of arrivals temporarily decreased.
Some activists for those in need of shelter attacked the proposed cruise ship port, claiming that the waterfront structure is unfit for housing and may flood.
The longer-term strategy should be to free up room in the city’s current homeless shelters by building more hotels, which is a better short-term solution.
The groups said, “Continued movement of asylum seekers throughout the boroughs like chess pieces is heartless and evidence of City Hall’s incapacity to manage this problem adequately.”
City authorities “continue to go above and beyond our moral and legal commitments and address the needs of those coming to New York,” according to Adams.