The low turnout at the facility, constructed at the cost of over $300,000, is spurring questions about the city’s response to the migrant influx, including disparities with the city’s care for homeless New Yorkers.
The tent structure can hold up to 1,000 migrants, though as of its opening on Wednesday the city had capped the number at 500. But even that far exceeds the handful of migrants so far being housed at the temporary shelter, which has been reserved for single men while women and children stay at a Midtown hotel.
And as the shelter — which includes cots, hot showers, food, televisions, laundry service, and even video games — sits largely empty, Mayor Adams has faced questions about the quality of that facility compared to city homeless shelters. Adams, who earlier this month declared a state of emergency over the influx, declined to answer questions about the comparison on Thursday.
The structure also opened at a time when the flow of migrants to the city has finally eased, after President Biden recently reconfigured policies at the country’s southern border. In the months prior to the change, tens of thousands of migrants had arrived in cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, many of them sent north on buses by border-state politicians in what they’ve characterized as a protest of Biden’s previous policies.