The mayor of New York asked a judge on Tuesday to allow the city to suspend its obligation with the “right to shelter”, ensuring that the authorities are no longer able to provide shelter to all people without housing due to the arrival of tens of thousands of international migrants.
The right to shelter has been implemented for more than four decades in New York, after a 1981 court ordered the city to provide temporary housing to any homeless person who requests it. Other American metropolises do not have this measure.
But with the arrival of 70,000 asylum seekers since the beginning of last year, many of whom entered the country through the southern border, the city has struggled to find space for all those who need a roof and a temporary bed.
“It is in the best interest of everyone, including those seeking to come to the United States, to be honest with the fact that New York City alone cannot provide care for everyone who crosses our border,” said Mayor Eric Adams. it’s a statement.
“Being dishonest about it will only result in a collapse of our system, and we need our government allies to know the truth and do their part,” Adams said.
Adams indicated that he did not intend to put a permanent end to the right to shelter, but wanted “clarity from the court.”
Right to housing
Some housing rights advocates criticized the move, saying it could result in more people living rough.
Joe Loonam, housing campaign coordinator for the activist group VOCAL-NY, said Adams wants to “end the right to shelter that has prevented New York City from following in the footsteps of places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, in where thousands of people live in horrendous conditions on the streets.”
The New York shelter system is currently occupied at unprecedented levels. The city assures that at this moment it provides shelter to 93,000 people. In recent months it has rented, at great cost, entire hotels to provide shelter for recently arrived migrants. It has also placed cots in schools, temporarily housed people in tents, a cruise terminal and a building that used to be a police academy.
In a letter to the New York City Assistant Administrative Judge of the Courts, city attorneys requested a change to the order that would allow officials to suspend shelter entitlement when the Department of Homeless Services lacks of resources to house everyone safely.
Adams has applied to the state and federal governments for financial help, but has criticized Washington for not providing the funds to care for migrants.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Adams said Sunday that the White House’s $30 million offer is not enough.
“We have spent more than 1 billion dollars,” declared the mayor. “We have projected spending close to $4.3 billion, if not more. This estimate is based on the number of migrants arriving in the city and those numbers have evidently increased.
In recent weeks the city has begun to cover the housing costs of some asylum seekers in hotels located in counties north of the city, but that has sparked anger and accusations that the city was taking its problems out on other communities.
In the early months of the crisis, Adams called the “right to shelter” a sign of her city’s solidarity with asylum seekers. Many of the new arrivals were trucked to New York by Republican governments in border states like Texas and Arizona, who were trying to draw attention to the border crisis. The governors also sent migrants to Washington, DC, another city with a Democratic mayor.
Catherine Trapani, executive director of Homeless Services United, a nonprofit organization that advocates for affordable housing, urged the city to release pressure on the shelter crisis by increasing assisted rental programs.
“There are alternatives,” he said. “The mayor does not need to take this drastic measure to limit what should be a fundamental right.”
In a joint statement, the Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society said they “strongly oppose” Adams’ request.
“New Yorkers do not want to see anyone, including asylum seekers, relegated to the streets,” the statement said.