With hundreds of migrants arriving daily, New York City will start giving adult asylum seekers in the city’s shelter system 60 days notice to find somewhere else to live, Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday.
The new policy is intended to make room for migrant families with children, Adams said. Caseworkers will help migrants who are asked to vacate find housing and other services, he said, and those who don’t find alternative housing within 60 days will have to return to the intake center and reapply for a new placement.
‘We must now take additional steps to create urgently needed space for families with children who continue to arrive seeking asylum and help those with us take the next steps to their journey,’ Adams said at a City Hall news conference. He added, ‘Our goal is no child, no family sleeping on the streets.’
Adams, a Democrat, has scrambled to house the tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in the city over the past year and has called for more help from the state and federal governments.
The city has rented out entire hotels to house migrants and has also put cots in schools and temporarily housed people in tents, a cruise ship terminal and a former police academy building.
Adams said more than 54,800 migrants are currently in the city’s care, with 300 to 500 more arriving daily. ‘This cannot continue,’ Adams said. ‘It’s not sustainable and we’re not going to pretend as though it is sustainable.’
Under the new policy, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said adult asylum seekers who have been in the city’s shelter system for a significant amount of time will receive their 60-day notice on a rolling basis.
‘As we continue to tackle this humanitarian crisis, we must devise novel ways of moving people within and through our system to find where they will ultimately settle,’ Williams-Isom said.
But immigration advocates said the new plan would create bureaucratic hurdles for vulnerable migrants and would violate the 1981 court order that requires the city to provide temporary housing for every homeless person who asks for it.
‘This is a bad policy that will be directly responsible for leaving families homeless and living on the streets,’ Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said in a statement. ‘The new rule is an abhorrent end run on our right to shelter laws, and does not reflect the welcoming values of New York City.’
Adams said he was not going to be deterred by potential legal challenges to the new policy.
‘The court system is going to do what the court system is going to do,’ he said.