Former Prison Near Central Park to Serve as Migrant Housing

  Last modified on June 12th, 2023

Jim.henderson, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

New York City’s well-documented migrant crisis has catapulted to stratospheric heights in recent weeks. With a hefty influx of asylum seekers arriving on a daily basis, government agents have been struggling to find suitable housing. The headline-making kerfuffle led Mayor Eric Adams to ask courts to eliminate the “Right to Shelter” policy which has been in place since 1981, and request the White House fast-track work authorization for those immigrating into the U.S.


With the current shelter system (and numerous hotels) completely maxed out, temporary dwellings in respite centers are taking shape throughout the Big Apple — and the latest is just steps from Central Park in a previously occupied prison.

Lincoln Correctional Facility, located at 31-33 West 110th Street, was shuttered in 2019 by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to the local prison population trending downward. At the time, the 10,000-square-foot structure with unobstructed views of the world’s most famous park was rumored to be the future site of a boutique luxury condo building, which Upper West Side council member Gale Brewer strongly opposed.

Back in March, Crain’s reported Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration planned to turn the space — which launched as a branch of the Young Women’s Hebrew Association in 1914 — into affordable housing. This is part of Hochul’s initiative to build 800,000 new homes in New York within the next ten years, which has garnered significant controversy from both sides of the political spectrum.

The ability to repurpose Lincoln Correctional Facility has come at a particularly crucial point, with a City Hall representative stating, “We’ve had over 70,000 asylum seekers come through the city’s intake centers since last spring, and yet hundreds of asylum seekers continue to arrive in New York City every day. 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.”


The New York Post reveals the remnants of the facility are as bare-bones as it gets and claims there are no “cells” remaining. What’s next for New York’s asylum seekers remains up in the air, as many have been bussed to other areas of the state to combat the space shortage. Meanwhile, Adams states the crisis is set to cost NYC $4.3 billion — if not more — by next spring.


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