New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced the city will open a Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
The terminal will be used to temporarily house asylum seekers arriving in New York City. It will provide food, medical care and other necessities for up to 1,000 men until it is needed for its actual purpose—the homeport of MSC Cruises.
“With more than 41,000 asylum seekers arriving in New York City since last spring and nearly 28,000 asylum seekers currently in our care, our city is at its breaking point,” said Mayor Adams. “This fifth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center will provide approximately 1,000 asylum seekers with a place to stay, access support, and get to their final destination.”
Naturally, not everyone agrees with this decision. Advocates for those in need of shelter say the cruise terminal is not suitable housing for individuals. However, this is just a temporary fix as the cruise terminal is expected to be used by MSC Cruises by spring of 2023.
Mayor Adams recognizes the economic value of MSC Cruises stating that the company’s presence results in $102 million in annual spending in the city. He also noted that MSC Cruises’ presence will create about 10,000 full-time jobs. Therefore, using the terminal long term is not financially responsible and asylum seekers will have to be relocated after a short time.
A few weeks ago, Mayor Adams said, “We’re anticipating 219,000 passengers arriving in New York City per year on MSC Cruises. This is a real boost to our economy, a boost to tourism, and a boost to contributing to our local communities. We want to thank this great organization for seeing the importance of not only cruising, but giving back in a very real way. The year-round cruises from the Brooklyn terminal will create a huge boost to our tourism and create up to 10,000 full-time jobs in the city”
Whether you agree with this decision or not, it seems some of New York’s asylum seekers will at least have somewhere warm to sleep for the short term.