NYC migrant crisis: City scrambles to find temporary shelter for migrants as arrivals continue

New York City officials have been sounding the alarm for months that the city has reached its capacity when it comes to housing migrants, even announcing that they would be handing out flyers at the border, urging migrants to resettle elsewhere.

However, at the same time, state officials have procured at least two contracts with outside companies to build temporary shelters for migrants, but say they don’t have plans to use these contracts at this time.

"It’s going to get worse before it gets better if we don’t get help from the national government," Mayor Eric Adams said at an unrelated press conference on Monday.


Brawl erupts outside Harlem migrant shelter

Witnesses say a group of men standing outside of a shelter were throwing objects at people walking by and attacked two men who attempted to intervene.

More than 90,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since last spring and as the numbers continue to grow, the city is scrambling to find places to shelter them.

Just recently and first reported by the Albany Times Union, state officials awarded a nearly $800 million contract to two Texas-based companies to build temporary shelters and are working on securing a third company. These contracts span five years and according to the Governor’s office, the rates agreed to in the contract were negotiated by the federal government.

No money has been spent yet and the governor’s office tells FOX 5 NY that these "backdrop contracts" can be used by agencies or local governments, including New York City, but nothing has been committed so far.

"In response to the unprecedented increase of asylum seekers in New York, Governor Hochul invested $1 billion to assist New York City's relief efforts and issued an Executive Order allowing the State to provide speedy humanitarian relief," a spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul said. "State agencies have taken steps to identify resources that State and local governments can use to provide humanitarian relief should further needs arise, including entering into contracts with three vendors whose pricing has been set through a competitive bidding process from the federal government."

However, according to the mayor, the city is in a crisis and city shelters are at capacity.

Mayor Eric Adams just recently announced that they are soon going to be implementing a new policy that will only allow migrants to stay at city shelters for 60 days. After that, they will have to re-apply for housing, but there will be no guarantee they will be placed somewhere new.


Adams: NYC will give some migrants 60 days notice to leave shelter system

New York City Mayor Eric Adams says the city will start giving adult asylum seekers in the city’s shelter system 60 days notice to find somewhere else to live.

"This is not sustainable and I'm not going to give the false impression that it is," Adams said.

Now the city is putting out its own bid to find an outside contractor to open new emergency migrant shelters that will be overseen by the Health + Hospital system, as first reported by The City

The city says that hiring an outside contractor will allow Health + Hospitals staff to prioritize 24/7 management of HERRC and Arrival Center operations, "which provides intake to hundreds of asylum seekers a day."

"From the start of the HERRC program, NYC Health + Hospitals staff has managed HERRC sites directly and on-site with contractors reporting to them for staffing, medical, food services, laundry, and other critical resources," a spokesperson for H +H said. "This RFP is no different—it does not shift the structure of the HERRC model or operations, but rather deepens NYC Health + Hospitals’ involvement in the management of the HERRC system by adding capacity."

Right now there are 13 emergency shelters or HERRCs, operated by the Health + Hospital system, however, groups like Legal Aid have raised concerns over these types of shelters for failing to meet certain right-to-shelter requirements.

"Things like having showers on site, having enough toilets for everyone to use just really basic things to make sure that everyone is safe and can have a safe place to sleep for the night," Kathryn Kliff with the Legal Aid Society explained.

But many sources behind the scenes have expressed frustration about the lack of coordination between the city and state on the migrant crisis.

State officials have helped the city procure access to at least two locations that are now housing migrants and the state legislature set aside $1 Billion to aid in the migrant crisis.

But some say that Governor Kathy Hochul should step in more forcefully when it comes to housing migrants in shelters upstate in order to alleviate some of this burden on the city.

New York City recently filed a lawsuit against 30 upstate counties for issuing emergency orders that block the city from contracting with upstate hotels to house migrants.  

"The support the state has provided the city has been extremely minimal and it's time for the state to take a much larger role and to help the city meet this need," Kliff said.

According to city and state officials, they are moving some migrants to upstate counties, but have met resistance from certain communities.

However, despite repeated requests, the details on this program are very limited.