My Profile

My Profile

Change Password

Updated: May 5, 2023, 11:49 PM

Tents, tiny homes in Central Park could house asylum seekers, internal document suggests, according to City Hall sources


NEW YORK -- Tents and small houses in Central Park may be used to temporarily shelter asylum seekers in New York City, CBS2 has learned. 

City Hall sources said the plan, outlined in an internal document, could be implemented if border towns continue sending asylum seekers and hotel space runs out. 

As it is, the city's latest temporary housing solution is unpopular with some in the NYPD. That's because the police academy in Manhattan is now sheltering migrants, raising security concerns. 

Video from Thursday night shows asylum seekers getting off buses on the East Side and entering the latest temporary migrant shelter, the former police academy, where the city says they're expected to house hundreds for a short period. 

Though the NYPD's active academy is in Queens, the facility is still used by some ranks of the department. For example, an NYPD source told CBS2 screening new recruits now has to be done somewhere else. 

The same source said 95 migrants are currently there and being kept in the academy gym, not separated by sex. 

PBA President Patrick Lynch released the following statement:

"Yet another societal problem has landed in New York City police officers' laps, and the 'solution' is terrible for everyone involved. It is a significant security risk to house civilians in an active, working police facility, which means a large contingent of police officers will need to be posted there for both the safety of the migrants and the security of the building. It's a waste of resources and a frankly inhumane arrangement. This decision need to be rethought."

The city said the number of asylum seekers that arrived over the last year is approaching 60,000, and the city has spent more than $1 billion on those that have already made it to New York.

A pandemic-era policy known as Title 42 expires next week. It has allowed officials to deny entry and return migrants to Mexico immediately. 

The city fears Title 42's expiration will further overwhelm the housing plan, which is already low on options, and it could push officials to consider using tents and small structures inside Central Park, according to CBS2's Marcia Kramer. 

When asked if the city is considering housing asylum seekers in Central Park, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said:

"While we do not discuss internal deliberations, we've been clear that the burden of caring for asylum seekers shouldn't fall on any one city alone. We have reached our limit of new shelters that we can open right now, and we currently have no other option but to temporarily house recent arrivals in gyms. This week alone, we received hundreds of asylum seekers every day, and with Title 42 set to be lifted next week, we expect more to arrive in our city daily. We are considering a multitude of options, but, as we've been saying for a year, we desperately need federal and state support to manage this crisis."

Adams continued asking the federal government for funding this week. 

"It's the irresponsibility of the White House for not addressing this problem," said Adams. 

"The federal government is allowing this to happen. We are calling on the federal government to intervene now," said Miguel Castro, commissioner of the New York City Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Adams said the migrants coming from the Texas border, like those that arrived at the Port Authority on Wednesday, are part of a political message from politicians like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. 

"No one should use human beings as political pawns," said Adams.