August 7, 2023
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the placement of a new Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island as the number of asylum seekers currently in the city’s care surpasses 57,200. In partnership with New York state, the city will construct and open a new humanitarian relief center on Randall’s Island to serve up to 2,000 adults seeking asylum. New York state will reimburse the city for the associated costs of the site, including construction, maintenance, and staffing. This humanitarian relief center will provide a range of services, in addition to ensuring asylum seekers can reach their desired destination, if not New York City.
“As the number of asylum seekers in our care continues to grow by hundreds every day, stretching our system to its breaking point and beyond, it has become more and more of a Herculean effort to find enough beds every night,” said Mayor Adams. “We’re grateful to Governor Hochul and New York state for their partnership in opening this new humanitarian relief center and covering the costs, and we need more of the same from all levels of government. We will continue to work with the governor and elected officials across the state to address this crisis as New York City continues to do more than any other level of government.”
“The opening of the latest humanitarian relief center on Randall’s Island demonstrates that the city will continue to meet its obligations, but it also shows that space continues to tighten,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “As we have reiterated in recent weeks, all options for shelter space remain on the table. Thank you to Governor Hochul and her team for working with us on this space and for stepping up to cover the associated costs.”
“Through every challenge of this unprecedented humanitarian crisis, New York City has stepped up, largely on its own, to help the nearly 100,000 asylum seekers who’ve turned to us to find a better life for themselves and their families,” said Ted Long, MD, MHS, senior vice president, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “This large-scale humanitarian center for adults — who traveled many harrowing miles before they found a safe, dignified welcome — will provide on-site services that build upon the successful models we’ve established at 13 humanitarian relief sites already and help these asylum seekers complete their journey. I am grateful to Governor Hochul and New York state for their partnership and proud to be a part of the Adams administration that has gone above and beyond the call to address this monumental, global crisis and make a difference in the lives of so many.”
“New York City, the epicenter of the free world, is on the frontlines of a humanitarian crisis,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. “We strive daily to ensure dignified conditions for thousands of asylum seekers, and we are proud of the work we have done to date in the face of overwhelming circumstances. Our Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island, activated in partnership with New York state and a safe haven for our newest arrivals seeking refuge, affirms our commitment to this work. We must also be honest that we have passed our breaking point and it’s beyond time for others to step up: This is clearly a national issue that calls for national leadership and a cohesive, robust national response.”
Since this humanitarian crisis began, the city has taken fast and urgent action — opening over 190 emergency shelters, including 13 other large-scale humanitarian relief centers already, with two more relief centers (not including the site on Randall’s Island) set to open in the coming weeks. The city has also stood up navigation centers to connect asylum seekers with critical resources; enrolled thousands of children in public schools through Project Open Arms; and launched the Asylum Application Help Center, which has already helped submit more than 1,300 applications for asylum. Earlier this spring, the city released “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis,” detailing how the city will continue to manage the influx of asylum seekers and advocate for support from federal and state partners.