Mayor Asks To Suspend NYC's Right-To-Shelter Amid Asylum Seeker Surge
Mayor Eric Adams' request to a judge Tuesday drew fierce opposition, with one advocate calling it an "all-out assault" on vulnerable people. The Mayor of New York City has filed a request to suspend the city's Right-to-Shelter, which effectively guarantees a bed for unhoused people and families, amid an asylum surge of 65,000 asylum seekers and 91,000 people. The request seeks flexibility over the right-to/shelter rules at times when the city is unable to provide adequate shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter. Many elected officials and advocates have criticized the request as an attack on city's fabric of protections for vulnerable people, arguing that it is an assault on their rights. Advocates with The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless have argued that the request is "not who were as a city" and that Adams' recent opposition to reforms that would repeal a rule that homeless people must live in a shelter for 90 days before they can receive a housing voucher is "outrageous" and "bad policy and bad politics."
Published : 6 days ago by Matt Troutman in Politics
The request filed late Tuesday by Adams' legal team seeks flexibility over the city's right-to-shelter rules — which effectively guarantees a bed for unhoused people and families — at times when the city "lacks the resources and capacity to establish and maintain sufficient shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter." The 65,000 asylum seekers, and counting, who arrived in New York City since last year threaten to stretch the city to the breaking point, it argues.
"Given that we’re unable to provide care for an unlimited number of people and are already overextended, it is in the best interest of everyone, including those seeking to come to the United States, to be upfront that New York City cannot single-handedly provide care to everyone crossing our border," Adams said in a statement. "Being dishonest about this will only result in our system collapsing, and we need our government partners to know the truth and do their share." "Our city has done more to support asylum seekers than any other city in the nation, but the unfortunate reality is that the city has extended itself further than its resources will allow."
Adams argued that the city isn't seeking to end right-to-shelter, which was established in a 1984 decree in a court case called Callahan v. Carey. Instead, he contended that the request seeks "clarity" amid circumstances unforeseen nearly 40 years ago — namely, a surge of migrants who, along with the city's existing homeless population, have stretched the city's shelter population to 91,000 people, according to the filing.
But many elected officials and advocates viewed the request as nothing less than a dangerous attack on the city's fabric of protections for vulnerable people. Advocates with The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless argued the request is "not who were are as a city."
"We will vigorously oppose any motion from this Administration that seeks to undo these fundamental protections that have long defined our city," a joint statement from the groups reads.
Adams' request shows he is undermining homeless New Yorkers' rights, rather than embrace policies to solve homelessness, said Christine Quinn, president of CEO of Win, the city's largest provider of shelter for unhoused families. Quinn blasted both the right-to-shelter request and Adams' recent opposition to reforms that would repeal a rule that homeless people must live in a shelter for 90 days before they can receive a housing voucher. "These actions amount to an all-out assault on our most vulnerable neighbors and they are simply outrageous," she said in a statement. "Attempting to rollback the Right to Shelter while lobbying against legislation that will help get more homeless New Yorkers into their own apartments is wrong — it is both bad policy and bad politics, and New Yorkers will not stand for it." City Comptroller Brad Lander argued Adams should have instead urged the judge to clarify that the right-to-shelter applies to all municipalities in New York.
Topics: Immigration, NYC