Jun. 12, 2023 By Ethan Stark-Miller
As thousands of asylum seekers continue to pour into the Big Apple each week, Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced his administration is opening two new so-called “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers” (HERRCs) spread across three college dormitories on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
One of the new HERRCs will be located in the Amsterdam Residence Hall at 205 and 207 West 85th St, an online search revealed. While the other will be at 117 West 70th Street, a building called The Stratford Arms that’s also used for university housing.
All three buildings serve as student housing for the The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, a performing arts conservatory, according to the mayor’s office.
Together the two sites will shelter up to 800 individuals consisting of either adult couples or single women across 516 rooms..
Adams, in a statement announcing the latest HERRC sitings, made another plea calling on the federal government to implement a “decompression strategy” to move more migrants out of New York City into other localities around the country. At this point, the city is overloaded, Adams and top administration officials have said, with over 74,000 asylum seekers who’ve arrived in the five boroughs since last year and 47,000 currently in the city’s care.
“New York City is facing a humanitarian crisis unlike any other before,” Adams said. “With more than 47,000 asylum seekers still in the city’s care and thousands continuing to arrive each week, we need a national decompression strategy to handle this national issue. New York City has stepped up, opening nearly 170 emergency sites to provide temporary shelter but without federal aid and a strategy to move migrants around the nation we are unable to continue treating arriving asylum seekers with the dignity and compassion that they deserve.”
Adams’ press secretary Fabien Levy said that besides a bed to sleep in, the new HERRCs will offer the same wrap-around services available in the city’s nine other relief centers — meals, clothing and legal services. In addition to the nine HERRCs, the city has opened nearly 170 emergency shelters, mostly located in hotels, and has filled its homeless shelter system at capacity.
Last week the city received close to $105 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help cover the cost of sheltering, feeding and clothing tens of thousands of newcomers. These funds, plus an additional $38.5 million the feds awarded the city recently, are well short of the $4.3 billion Adams’ office expects to spend on the crisis by next July.
Upper West Side City Council Member Gale Brewer (D), said she only heard from City Hall this morning about it’s plans to site migrant shelters in her district that will open over the next day. Additionally, she said there are permanent tenants in both buildings that the city didn’t know about, who need to be notified.
“This morning … I get a call saying ‘oh they’re coming into this building tonight and that building tomorrow morning,” she told amNewYork Metro. “ I had no idea. I mean, none. I mean, people had rumors, but I didn’t know any facts. So, you know, it’s a little disconcerting in that sense. There are also permanent tenants in these buildings. Not many, but some. So I said, the city did not know that. So I have to be sure that those tenants are okay.”
Nonetheless, Brewer tweeted that the community is ready to support any asylum seekers who move there.
“The UWS has welcomed and supported asylum seekers who’ve moved to the neighborhood over the past year,” Brewer wrote. “Today the Admin told me that two new HERRCs are opening in the district. The UWS community has shown an outpouring of support for asylum seekers and we will continue to do so.”