On Monday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that she is in the process of getting a temporary migrant shelter for single adults approved at the Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
The field is a former naval air station that currently operates as a green space and is owned by the National Parks Service. If the new shelter is approved, it would accommodate up to 2,000 asylum seekers and include heat and air conditioning so that it can be used in the winter months.
According to Gothamist, Hochul has agreed to foot the bill for this shelter and has sent the lease outlining the use of the national park land for the shelter to the White House. The White House has not signed the final agreement yet.
“Once the final agreement is signed, we will work with Mayor Adams and his team to set up a Humanitarian Emergency Relief and Response Center at Floyd Bennett Field with the capacity to shelter more than 2,000 asylum seekers," said Hochul in her statement.
"Ultimately the path out of this crisis is granting work authorization immediately, so these individuals can move out of shelter and into independent living arrangements. This site will be critical in the interim for the City of New York to provide humanitarian aid, as we work collectively to get people on the path to asylum seeker status and legal work."
In response to her announcement, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless asked for a concrete timeline for transitioning 30,000 new arrivals out of shelter and securing those individuals' work authorization. They also asked the governor to provide information on the transportation and other critical services that will be made available to new arrivals once the Floyd Bennett Field is operational.
“We welcome these additional resources from Governor Hochul and her Administration in what we hope is the start of a more meaningful commitment to provide the City with funding, staffing, facilities, coordination and more to avoid another nightmarish scenario where people are relegated to the streets and exposed to the elements," the organizations wrote. “However, the devil is in the details, and we need more information from the State, including a concrete timeline for transitioning 30,000 new arrivals out of shelter and securing those individuals work authorization, as well as information on the transportation and other critical services that will be made available to new arrivals once Floyd Bennett Field is operational."
This response comes after more than 100 New York organizations representing advocates, services providers and faith groups issued a letter to Hochul, urging her to develop a comprehensive statewide decompression and resettlement plan.
The Office of the Public Advocate, Jumaane D. Williams called for Hochul to sustain and increase the effort to help asylum seekers.
"The site is not ideal, but we continue to be left to choose the best of bad options, and I will work to ensure that shelters meet the necessary standards, including security precautions, resource availability, and transportation access to and from the site for migrants and community organizations alike," said Williams in his statement. "I hope that this and other actions signal a sustained and increased effort by the state to step up with financial and infrastructural support to meet this humanitarian crisis."