City officials provided amNewYork Metro a tour of the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island Tuesday.
The facility which has become known as Randall’s Island “Tent City” is scheduled to open on Oct. 19 and will serve as a temporary staging point to house arriving asylum seekers while also connecting them with the services they need, according to the mayor’s office. This will include medical examinations, food provisions, and connecting migrants with families wherever they may be in the country.
The facility consists of multiple sections, such as an intake center, games room, dining hall, and more designed to provide both care and a stable environment.
“This is really an exertion of the work we are doing at Port Authority,” Commissioner of New York City Emergency Management Zach Iscol said. “What we realized is that we needed a different type of operation that gave us the time and space to welcome people, to give them a warm meal, a shower, a place to sleep, to understand their medical needs, and then to really work with them and figure what their next step is going to be.”
Arriving migrants at Port Authority will be bused to the Relief Center for a what is expected to be a stay that will last less than a week for each individual. amNewYork Metro was shown where individuals will have access to phones in order to connect with friends and family, access to television and even video games, as well as board games.
Other departments include a vast dining hall where migrants can sit and eat, as well as a separate location for laundry. A separate tent will also be available for those who arrive testing positive for COVID-19.
“I feel proud. I feel proud as a New Yorker knowing what we are doing for the people that we care about,” Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said. “I am proud of the city.”
City officials state that the parking lot on which the tents are erected is not susceptible to flooding (unlike the initial site at Bronx’s Orchard Beach), and they believe it will be safe for all involved. amNewYork Metro was also shown the sleeping area in which hundreds upon hundreds of beds were stacked beside one another, and according to Williams-Isom the facility will employ a 10 p.m. nightly curfew.
This facility will primarily house single male adults, while families will be bussed from Port Authority to the nearby Roe Hotel, which is already in operation. With the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island set to be receiving residents imminently, only time will tell how well the facility is received by those who will be temporarily calling it home.