Shelters are overwhelmed in New York 3:27

(CNN) -- A reminder from the Prophet Muhammad about giving to "humanity" is painted on the outside of an unspeakable South Brooklyn building that opened its doors to migrants of all faiths.

Over the past nine months, the Muslim Community Centre has collectively hosted some 75 asylum-seekers. But they want to do more.

"As Muslims, we have an obligation to help house migrants and people traveling, and we have decided to take that step," Soniya Ali, the center's executive director, told CNN.

The center is one of several faith-based organizations that have applied to New York City to house migrants. In turn, the city has signed a contract with New York Disaster Interfaith Services, a faith-based charity, to provide 950 beds to asylum seekers, according to a government official with knowledge of the city's plan.

At the Muslim center, beds are already lined up in an upstairs living space, along with a kitchenette, sanitary facilities, and a couple of sofas. "We have 17 migrants housed. Each bed is your living space," Ali explains.


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Interior of the Brooklyn Muslim Community Center. (Credit: CNN)

Each of the 50 "faith-based stabilization shelters" will have 19 beds. The city plans to open 10 shelters on July 1 and then open 10 additional shelters each month through November, with the option to extend the contract to open more shelters, according to an official.

However, centers like Ali's will have to meet building standards to house these large groups. "We need to have carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, plus a sprinkler system," Ali told CNN.

When asked about his motivation for setting up the shelter, Ali told CNN he was only five years old when his family came to the United States from Kashmir.

"I can perfectly understand what they feel when they talk about their families or the children they left behind or their wives or whoever they left behind, because I have relatives at home who are not here," Ali said. "And you feel that sense of longing, so I understand that part of his journey and his situation."

"Help." It's the poignant one-word response of Senegalese migrant Mamadou Deiallo, who has been at the shelter since August. His story is known. Without legal work authorization, he remains in unemployment limbo.

"It is necessary for the city to help all immigrants," Deiallo told CNN.

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A mural on the wall of the Brooklyn Muslim Community Center. (Credit: CNN)

The transformation of places of worship into shelters comes as New York continues to search for other places to house its nearly 45,000 homeless immigrants. Mayor Eric Adams said the city is overwhelmed and can't keep up with the number of migrants arriving.

In the coming days, the city and state will work to open an emergency respite center for adult asylum seekers at the former Lincoln Correctional Facility, a City Council spokesperson told CNN on Sunday.

They said there are no "cells" in downtown Harlem. The site has been vacant since it closed in 2019, the spokesman said.

"We are 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 spokesperson told CNN.

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