Group rallies against tent city being built near Nassau border

The state is partnering with New York City to build and open what is being called a “humanitarian relief center” in the parking lot of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

Thema Ponton

Aug 8, 2023, 10:10 PM

Updated 252 days ago

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Hundreds of residents rallied Tuesday against a planned tent city for asylum seekers on the grounds of a Queens psychiatric center that borders Nassau County.
The state is partnering with New York City to build and open what is being called a “humanitarian relief center” in the parking lot of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
A group of people held a “No Tent City” protest in the space that is expected to serve up to 1,000 men in need of shelter. The rally took place on both sides of Hillside Avenue in Queens, which is around two miles from the Nassau County border.
According to New York City Deputy Mayor Ana Almanzar, the city needs more support to help with the influx of what she says is over 56,000 people seeking asylum.
Susan Burnett, of Floral Park, says she would feel safer if the asylum seekers were families, but says the men they are bringing to the area are “not vetted.”
“We’ve worked really hard and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps to build a nice neighborhood and we feel that there’s not enough supervision,” Burnett says. “There’s not enough support for these men to come here.”
Others told News 12 that the location is too close to schools and parks in their neighborhood.
“We don’t know who it is that’s coming – that’s our main concern,” says Alisa, of Bellerose.
Director of Brentwood-based, Long Island Immigration Clinic, Sister Janet Kenny helped people asylum paperwork.
She says she knows some people are frustrated about the tent city that is set to be set up at Creedmoor but calls the influx of asylum seekers to New York a humanitarian crisis that the city needs helps with.
“The people who are coming are vulnerable people who are fleeing their homelands because of violence and persecution against them,” Kinney says. “No one would be coming with the clothes on their back if they did not have reason to come here – these are not criminals – these are people who are fleeing persecution and violence.”
The city’s deputy mayor says the state is reimbursing the city for the cost of the site, including construction, maintenance and staffing.
The protest drew the attention of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
He said in part, “We understand community concerns and want to assure them – we and the state are working to ensure that the site is well-managed and that any potential disruptions are minimized.”
The deputy press secretary for the mayor’s office did not give an exact date that the center would be opening. She says the facility could be coming online in the coming weeks.


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