Videos from inside the facility circulating among migrants showed rows of black storage bins and folding tables, in addition to the cots.
Three elected officials who represent the Red Hook area said in a statement on Monday that they were alarmed by videos circulating that compared the terminal to detention centers near the southern border. Councilwoman Alexa Avilés, Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes and State Senator Andrew Gounardes said the mayor’s office had postponed a scheduled tour of the terminal with elected officials.
“If the shelter was ready for people to begin arriving Saturday, it should be ready for elected officials to visit on Monday,” they said.
Mr. Adams himself paid a visit on Monday. The mayor played Ping-Pong with men staying at the facility as others watched with amusement, video taken by residents showed.
Finding permanent housing for the newcomers is a huge challenge in a notoriously expensive city. People who are seeking asylum are not immediately authorized to work, presenting a major frustration for new migrants, many of whom are desperate to find off-the-books gigs as soon as possible. City officials, including Mr. Adams, have called on the federal government to expedite work permits.
Even for people who do find some work, renting an apartment may be out of reach. Deborah Berkman, supervising attorney of the Shelter Advocacy Initiative at the New York Legal Assistance Group, has worked with over 50 migrants who arrived from the southern border. Many migrants are not eligible for government rental assistance because of their legal status, she said.
And as New Yorkers know, renting on the open market can be difficult even for people with ample documentation of a steady income.
“Without money or a housing voucher, it’s too expensive to get a place to live in New York,” she said.
Reporting was contributed by Samira Asma-Sadeque, Brittany Kriegstein, Andy Newman and Christopher Alvarez.