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NYC plans to use former Harlem state prison to hold migrants as their numbers increase

By Chris Sommerfeldt, Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News,

The Lincoln Correctional Facility on W. 110th St. in Manhattan, New York, is pictured Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS

A closed Harlem prison will be used to temporarily house the scores of migrants coming into New York, city officials confirmed.

Gov. Hochul on Friday gave City Hall the green light to use the former Lincoln Correctional Facility on W. 110th St. at the northern end of Central Park as a “respite center” that will house about 500 migrants for short periods of time as they find more suitable housing .

The prison is the Adams administration’s latest attempt to house the more than 60,000 migrants who have come to the city since last year.

The Lincoln Correction Facility was a minimum security men’s prison that closed in 2019. In the past the building had been used to house U.S. troops during World War II and provide classes for the New York City school system.

“We’re grateful to the state for providing this site and partnering with the city to open this space as a temporary site for asylum seekers as New York City continues to face this humanitarian crisis,” a spokesman for Adams said, noting that “hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive in New York City every day.”

The migrants and asylum seekers will not be living in jail cells, an official confirmed.

Mayor Adams’ administration started using respite centers earlier this month to house migrants as the city’s traditional shelter and emergency hotel systems remain overcrowded.

There are at least four sites, which Adams’ office has described as “waiting rooms” where migrants receive temporary shelter until better digs are available. One of the city’s respite centers is in the gym of the NYPD’s old Police Academy building on E. 20th St. in Manhattan.

Advocates slammed the respite sites last week, claiming that some of the centers have no showers and migrants have to pour bottles of water over their heads to wash themselves. Others complain that migrants have to sleep on narrow cots.

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