New migrant center at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center ready to house thousands

A new tent city for migrants is opening in the parking lot of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens. City officials say it should be ready as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

It’s expected to house up to one thousand single adult men as the number of migrants under the city’s care nears 60,000.

City officials took a small group of reporters on a tour of the new site before it opened officially.

In the first tent, each person will be tested for tuberculosis, COVID, and more.


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They will also be given an ID badge, which they will need to scan each time they leave or enter the facility. 

"When you enter or when you leave, we scan the QR code on your badge to make sure we know who's on-site at any given moment," New York City Health and Hospitals senior vice president Dr. Ted Long explained.

The second tent houses a cafeteria, where migrants can grab a snack any time of the day.

Caseworkers will also be available in this tent to work with migrants and assist them on their path to finding permanent housing. According to city officials, they have helped around 40% of the migrants who have passed through New York City move on to another area.

City Hall wouldn’t say how long this site at Creedmoor will be open. However, unlike the last emergency humanitarian relief center on Randall’s Island, which was open for less than a month last year, city officials expect this site to be open for much longer.


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The federal government has so far only allocated around $140 million to the city in aid, although city officials say they have yet to see any of that money.

"There was about a six-week, six-to-eight-week period of time where we did not have people coming to the city," New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol said, defending why the site closed so quickly.

"When we opened our facility, there was about 15,000 asylum seekers across our city system," Dr. Long said. 

The next tent is expected to house at least 850 single adult men. Every man checking in, will be given a key to unlock a lockbox under their cot, giving them a safe space to store their belongings.

There will be a smaller tent behind the larger tent with cots, which has beds for another 150 men. In total, city leaders expect this site to house at least 1,000 asylum seekers.


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Like the other shelters and humanitarian relief centers, migrants will only be allowed to stay at the Creedmoor site for 60 days. If they can’t find permanent housing in that time then they will have to re-apply for a spot.

However, some community members say they are worried this will impact their neighborhood and are planning a protest outside the site on Wednesday at 7 pm.

"It’s a completely inappropriate location to put 1,000 unvetted males," Robert Friedrich, a local resident and president of the Glen Oaks Village Owners Inc. said. "By the way, it's also quite inhumane to them. You're putting them in a parking lot and cots, three feet apart; 1,000 individuals with nothing to do in the area. To me, I call it a powder keg of instability."

Another issue with the site that many have raised, is the lack of transportation. There is only one bus that runs through this area -- the Q43.

Nearly 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since last spring.