NYC migrant crisis: Former Harlem jail to house migrants

New York City officials have reviewed over 700 potential emergency sites to house migrants, city officials said on Wednesday, as over 2200 migrants arrived in the city over the past week.

"We are hopefully opening up a state facility imminently," NYC Commissioner of Emergency Management Zachary Iscol. "We are hoping that occurs in the next day or two."

This state site is the former Lincoln Correctional Facility which has been vacant since 2019. The former jail in Harlem will open as a shelter to hundreds of adult migrants in the next day or two while the city continues its search for emergency housing.

"Everything is on the table," Iscol explained. "When we look at sites, there's a number of factors that we need to look at. Some of its cost, some of its location, the amount of infrastructure that needs to be put in place."


NYC migrant crisis: New arrivals struggling to make ends meet

Migrants and asylum seekers are turning to selling goods in the city's subways as they away decisions on their status and ability to work legally in the city.

Over 72,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last year and nearly 46,000 are being cared for by the city.

Migrants now make up half of the city’s homeless shelter population which has doubled since last year according to city officials.

Some critics are pushing the city to work with private landlords in order to use vacant apartments to house migrants, but city officials say this could take away housing from New Yorkers.

"I think it's really important that while we are looking at all of the options for housing our asylum seekers, that we're also not taking housing, particularly not affordable housing, out of the stock, particularly when we're incredibly tight housing market," Acting Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services Molly Park said.

The city is continuing to look to the federal government for help in covering the costs of housing migrants.

But the city’s budget director, at an unrelated event, said that FEMA told him the city would only receive a fraction of the money they thought they would at the beginning of the year.

RELATED: Girl scouts of Greater New York-Troop 6000 welcomes migrant children

"Based on what we heard from FEMA, they claim no locality can claim more than 10% for the second tranche, so we’re expecting very little," NYC Budget Director Jacques Jiha said.

"It is not sufficient for something that we think is going to be, I think the numbers now $4.3 billion of expenses to New York City," Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Islom said. "I think anyone can understand that just that math does not work out."

Deputy Mayor Williams-Islom told reporters that only a very small percentage of migrants who arrived in the city have applied for asylum, citing language concerns as a primary reason.

Asylum seekers have one year to file their asylum claim after arriving in New York City.