RED HOOK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams is making plans to turn the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into New York City's latest humanitarian emergency response and relief center.
After making the announcement that the city would open the new emergency shelter at the cruise terminal, city workers started the transition on Monday.
The new relief center will open in the coming weeks and house 1,000 single adult men. Migrants will be housed in the terminal, not on the ships themselves.
That was why the tent shelter on Randall's Island was built before it was dismantled after only a month because it was underused.
The first occupants in Red Hook will be relocated from the Watson Hotel in Midtown.
The Watson Hotel will then house migrant families who are currently staying at The Row hotel in Hell's Kitchen.
The new center in Brooklyn will close before the cruise season this spring.
"Now they're going to be moved to a building that was not designed for living that the city is gonna have to prepare for people to sleep in, and only for a short period of time," said Josh Goldfein with Legal Aid Society. "We're gonna invest a lot of resources to get this building ready only to dismantle it again, I guess when cruise ships start coming in again."
Advocacy groups say the new center poses the same issues as Orchard Beach and Randall's Island, saying it's in a remote location, making it more difficult for migrants to access legal help, medical care and jobs.
"The city has tens of thousands of New Yorkers in shelter currently who were there before the migrants started coming who could move out if they had some assistance," Goldfein said.
As plans get underway for the new shelter, the mayor is also calling on more federal aid as the city deals with the influx of asylum seekers. Adams held a rally outside City Hall on Sunday, calling on Congress and FEMA to help.
Congress recently approved $800 million to help with the influx, but that's not all for New York. New York will end up spending more than that on helping asylum seekers.
Adams says while New York City needs a lot more resources, it has no intention of slowing down its help for new immigrants.
"People are sleeping on the streets in El Paso," Adams said. "There sleeping in airports. I spoke to my colleague in Chicago, people are sleeping in the basement of libraries. No family is sleeping on our streets."
Adams said New York needs to be especially prepared for even more arrivals if the Supreme Court eventually allows Title 42 to expire. That is the pandemic rule imposed by the Trump Administration making it even harder to seek asylum in the United States.
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