NEW YORK — Despite massive protests, a new humanitarian shelter opened in Queens on Tuesday afternoon.
The mayor’s office took CBS New York’s Lisa Rozner inside the tents in the parking lot of.
The cushions have been laid, mobile bathrooms and showers have been cleaned and the cafeteria is ready to offer three meals a day.
“Today we’re here in a parking lot and Randall’s, which we also announced, is going to be on a football field. We’re at the point where we need to create new space,” said Dr. Ted Long, senior vice president of NYC Health + Hospitals.
Rozner saw the main sleeping tent for the site. Officials said it can hold up to 850 asylum seekers.
There will also be a curfew, meaning the lights will be off, but people will be able to come and go 24/7. There will also be cots in a smaller tent. In total, a maximum of 1,000 single men can stay there.
“We currently have thousands of single people in the DHS system. We need to make room for all families with children,” Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy said.
Officials said the site will cost slightly less than Randall’s Island, which reportedly costs $20 million a month.
Rozner asked those in charge, “The mayor said last week that he would try to save a dollar on napkins, laundry, meals … are those kinds of savings being applied here and how?”
“If you look around this facility, there’s … it’s a lot more. There’s a lot less things we do here than at Randall’s,” said Zach Iscol, commissioner of the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
He said there is no medical center and the medical services provided by MEDRITE will eventually move to telehealth.
In addition, suppliers taking on more sites help reduce costs.
However,fearing that the center will also drive out seniors coming to the SNAP center a block away, and kids playing sports across the street.
“There are other places they can put them, that’s an open area, with nothing around,” said resident Joe Sinisgalli. “We don’t know their background. We don’t know what situation they come from, how they will behave.”
He said he is also concerned that one bus stop outside to Jamaica is not enough for asylum seekers to access jobs.
Unarmed security will also be present at the Creedmoor facility 24 hours a day.
The mayor’s office said more transportation could be provided if needed and there would be no impact on local services.
About 100 people were expected on Tuesday.