Quick 24 News
News Blog

Mayor Adams says NYC shelters can’t handle migrant crush


Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that the Big Apple’s landmark “right to shelter” policy must be “reassessed” as the arrival of thousands of migrants pushes the city safety net to “its breaking point.”

City Hall says that “nearly 11,000” people have streamed up from the southern border over the course of the summer and been initially placed in the city’s sprawling and scandal-scarred shelter system.

“In this new and unforeseen reality, where we expect thousands more to arrive every week going forward, the city’s system is nearing its breaking point,” Adams said in the statement.

“As a result, the city’s prior practices, which never contemplated the bussing of thousands of people into New York City, must be reassessed.”

Adams’ statement never explicitly mentioned the right to shelter but the practices he seeks to “reassess” are driven by the four-decades-old court settlement between the Coalition for the Homeless and the administration of then-Mayor Ed Koch. It requires City Hall to provide a bed in a habitable facility to every homeless New Yorker, which laid the groundwork for the modern shelter system.

And the statement came just hours after civil rights organizations accused the Adams administration of one of the biggest breaches of the shelter requirement in recent years.

Migrants from Texas arrive at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York.
Migrants from Texas arrive at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York.
Jeenah Moon/REUTERS

“While we understand and appreciate the demands that the City faces, the law is clear: Anyone in need of shelter, including asylum seekers, is entitled to such in New York City,” said the two organizations, in a joint statement. “This principle has been settled for decades, and is not subject to unilateral tinkering by a new administration.”

However, City Hall disputed that the mayor was calling for reassessment of the right to shelter or underlying legal settlements — despite his statement.

“Prior practices, we need to look at all of them,” said Adams Press Secretary Fabien Levy. “The law is the law, but we’re calling for prior practices to be reassessed.”

Levy also disputed that officials had ever acknowledged a breach of the right-to-shelter court order after the Department of Homeless Services left 60 migrants stranded in a Manhattan intake overnight Monday, forcing them to sleep on the floor or on benches.

Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Adams called for policies in place to be “reassessed.”
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Instead, he said that DHS had notified the Coalition for the Homeless and Legal Aid about the failure to place the men because they were being “overly communicative.”

Officials did not respond to questions about how the 60 men had reached the five boroughs.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has made a high-profile show of putting migrants on buses bound for traditionally Democratic big cities. However, the federal government has also shipped recent arrivals to New York from the southern border as have some relief charities.

City records show the number of people living in shelter has swelled to nearly 57,000 in recent days, up 25% from the roughly 46,000 people in shelter in May, at the beginning of the surge.

The most recent figures from the City Hall show there were 7,300 homeless people still living in shelter as of last Thursday.

Both figures remain well below the all-time high of more than 61,000 hit in January 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott has been busing migrants from Texas to New York City.
Shelby Tauber/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Adams’ statement, released late Tuesday afternoon, also attacked critics of his administration’s handling of the crisis.

“While some may want to use these extraordinary circumstances as an opportunity to play an unproductive game of gotcha, we remain focused on supporting each of these individuals and families who need our city’s help,” he said.

Adams added: “We will continue to work every day with those who want to partner on this vital work to provide these individuals with the shelter and services they so desperately need.”

Adams’ statement came just hours Legal Aid and the Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement on Monday revealing the apparent breach of the legal shelter requirement and blasting the administration for failing to place them in beds.

On Tuesday, the two groups noted in their statement that City Hall had “added resources to the system to help avoid a repeat of what transpired Monday night.”

Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services Gary P. Jenkins
City Hall has disputed that Adams was calling for a reassessment of the right to shelter.
William Farrington

The apparent failure to comply with the court order was another embarrassment for Adams’ embattled social services chief, Gary Jenkins.

The Post previously revealed Jenkins was vacationing in August as his agencies missed their own deadlines to secure additional shelter and intake capacity to better manage the crisis.

Officials have issued requests for non-profit social service providers to find and rent as many as 5,600 additional hotel rooms to provide emergency housing. An analysis by The Post found the rents for the rooms alone could easily reach $300 million annually.

DHS has failed to respond to inquiries from The Post for two days on the status of those efforts.

Adams’ handling of the crisis brought the sharpest comments yet on the matter from Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) at her press conference Tuesday.

Rep. Edward Koch
Mayor Adams called for policies put in place during the Mayor Koch era to be “reassessed.”
Anthony Camerano/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Her remarks were notable because she has been more reticent than her predecessors to openly criticize the mayor’s office.

“This is an unprecedented situation. The city is bursting at the seams and – quite frankly – not prepared to handle this influx of individuals coming,” she said. “This happened suddenly. The city was unprepared for that, understandably.”

She added: “We’re going to have to find places to house these individuals because of who we say we are: We’re going to have to live up to that.”



Source link

Comments are closed.