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Tents to temporarily house migrants under construction on Randall's Island

Tents to house migrants under construction
Tents to house migrants under construction 02:49

NEW YORK -- Tents are being built on Randall's Island to temporarily house single, adult migrants being bused to New York City from the South. 

Construction crews appeared to be working quickly and a City Council member said it's possible the tents could be done by the end of the week, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported Monday. 

City contractors spent the day putting up the walls of two tents next to Icahn Stadium in the middle of Randall's Island, where the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center will go after a lawsuit was filed against putting them on a flood-prone parking lot in Orchard Beach in the Bronx. 

Mayor Eric Adams said the number of migrants being bused here is "unbelievable." He said close to 1,800 migrants were brought to the city from southern states over the weekend. 

"We need every level of government to participate in dealing with this crisis that we are facing. Over the last few days, to receive those large numbers, it's a drain on our system. We have to make sure we get the support that we need," said Adams. 

Last week, the mayor said out of 61,000 people living in city shelters, one in five is a migrant. That number could go to 100,000 by next year.  

Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, who represents Randall's Island, has asked the administration to instead consider 10 vacant hotels as locations to place migrants. 

"That specific area is zoned a three, which means that it can potentially flood and it probably has in the past," said Ayala. 

The Randall's Island location will be the first stop of asylum seekers who are single adults that are bused to the city where they will temporarily stay. 

"This morning we had a case like that. We had a young man, immediately, he saw me and he was like, 'Do you speak Spanish? I need help,'" said Ayala. "'I have family in Florida. I would love to go to Florida.' He won't be able to leave until tomorrow. But ... he'll have a place to sleep in overnight comfortably until such time as the flight is available." 

New Yorkers have mixed reactions to the Randall's Island tents. 

"As a temporary solution, perhaps it will work," said Sandra Levin. 

"They need to stay somewhere," said Richard Koss. 

"They're not shabby tents," said Jerry Smith. 

"How is that going to hold up in the winter?" said Zarah Levin-Fragasso. 

The city said the tents will have 500 beds and clients will receive three hot meals a day. They will also have access to phones and iPads to connect with family. It's an intermediate stop - a place to go before finding more permanent housing. 

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