NYC Public Advocate Responds To Plans For New Migrant Shelter On Randall’s Island

August 8th, 2023

Press Release

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement in response to the city’s plans to construct a new Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center on Randall’s Island.

“As the scope and urgency of this humanitarian crisis grows, the insufficient state response and near-total lack of real federal aid have forced the city – which has of course made its own missteps – to now choose from the best of bad options. I urge Albany and Washington to see the reality of the challenges facing people seeking asylum in our city and finally step up, instead of looking away.

“It is vital that this new site meets the standards of New York’s right to shelter, and that it is constructed with safeguards against issues such as flooding and transit access which we raised last time one was built. It is also crucial that local residents and leaders are not blindsided by the announcement of new shelters – my office has legislation to require detailed, public plans for future shelter siting, and passing this bill would help to prepare communities for the realities and responsibilities of helping bring our newest New Yorkers into our neighborhoods, not onto the streets.”

The Public Advocate’s legislation, Intro 780, would create a commission to develop a citywide shelter siting plan for both emergency and longer-term shelters. Under the bill, currently in committee, the commission would develop a five year plan, updated annually, that determines the best locations for shelters by analyzing the relationship between shelter locations, access to communities of origin, public transit, and essential services. It would also help to determine the need for shelters in specific locations, finances required to provide them and any essential, alternative or emergency services required for such shelters, including through public input.

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