NEW YORK - New York City is moving migrants out of public school gymnasiums following days of protests.
But officials insist they are not reversing course, rather that these sites were always meant to be temporary. Sometimes migrants will stay there for 20 minutes, sometimes overnight, a spokesperson for city hall said.
"The strategy was to have emergency sites for short-term respite, which always meant that people would move to another site when that became available," Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom explained.
However, officials left the door open to possibly moving migrants back into school gyms if needed. They did not disclose how much it is costing the city to build and then dismantle these beds each time.
"We’re going to continue to do that so that I can assure that nobody sleeps on the streets of New York City," Williams-Isom said.
More than 67,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City since last year and city officials say they have run out of places to house them.
Mayor Eric Adams also claims that nearly 50 percent of hotel rooms in the city are now occupied by migrants and the city’s economy is starting to feel that pressure.
"Instead of monies coming from people who are visiting us and spending in our tourism and our Broadway plays, instead of them using those hotels, we’re using those hotels," Mayor Adams insisted.
Adams says another issue - many empty spaces are refusing to house migrants.
"We reached out to our hotels, many of them are saying we don't want to get into the shelter business," Adams said. "Many of them are going to price points that is just too hard for taxpayers to pay."
The city has opened 150 emergency sites and is now reportedly looking at around 500 additional sites, although city officials will not specify where.
According to the Daily News, the city is also considering housing migrants at a closed Rikers Island Prison. Mayor Adams wouldn’t confirm those reports.
"We are going to look at everything," Adams said. "And as we roll out what we're doing we will announce."
The city will be officially opening a new arrival center for migrants at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown starting on Friday. The center will offer medical services, mental health services, school enrollment, and more.
Despite the prominence of this public location, officials refused to disclose other areas they are housing migrants citing safety concerns.
"My job is to make sure that they are safe and that they are cared for," Williams-Isom said.
Adams says they are expecting around 15 buses with migrants to arrive in the next day or two.
Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul met with Congressional leaders in Washington D.C on Wednesday about the migrant crisis and said they are looking at housing migrants at college campuses and shuttered psychiatric facilities.